Obama: We All Have ‘Implicit Biases,’ ‘Oftentimes There’s a Presumption That Black Men Are Dangerous’

During a town hall on ABC on Thursday, President Obama argued that everyone has “implicit biases,” and “oftentimes, there’s a presumption that black men are dangerous.”

Obama said, “I think that the place to start is for everybody to recognize that, we need police officers, and we need those police officers to be embraced by the community. If there are good relations between police and those communities, then the communities are going to be safer, and police officers will be safer. It’s good for everybody.”

He added, “Point number two, is, police departments that are doing the best work are also training their officers, not just on shooting, not — being good shots, not just on the technical aspects of police work, but they’re also training officers about how do we get rid of some of our implicit biases, and we all have them. Black folks have them, white folks have them, we all carry around with us some assumptions about other people. And I think if we’re honest with ourselves, that because of the history of our country, and because of images we receive as we’re growing up, etc., oftentimes, there’s a presumption that black men are dangerous. And so, that has to be worked through, and police officers who are getting that training end up being able to engage and de-escalate encounters more effectively. So, that’s the second thing, that has to happen. Number three, we’ve got to provide police departments more resources so that they can implement some of these best practices.”

Obama also stated, “We’ve got to make sure that police have due process. They’ve got a tough job. But we’ve also got to make sure that people have confidence that if something happens, that it’s going to be investigated fairly and properly.”

Obama later added that people who aren’t white also have assumptions, and sometimes have negative assumptions about police.

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett