Adult learning is more than alternative education, self-help, self-study, or training. Self-directed inquiry can free you from the cultural traps of today’s postmodern world. When you think for yourself, you take control of your life. Intellectual ability and critical thinking soon become substitutes for paper credentials. Simply stated aggressive learning is the most practical guide to a passionately rewarding life.
Friday, February 28, 2020
Blue Bias: An Ex-Cop Turned Philosopher Examines the Learning and Resolve Necessary to End Hidden Prejudice in Policing
(c) Charles D. Hayes
Finally, after a half century
of reflection and four years of writing and obsessive rewriting, I’ve just
published Blue Bias: An Ex-Cop Turned Philosopher Examines the Learning
and Resolve Necessary to End Hidden Prejudice in Policing. In
preparation for the flak I’m going to be getting from politically hard-right
conservatives, I recently re-watched all five seasons of The Wire,
written, produced, and directed by David Simon. To those who don’t understand
the problem of drugs and intercity poverty, Simon says watch the series, and if
you still don’t get it, watch it again.
The Wire, of course, is fiction, but it is in my view a masterpiece
of insightful social commentary. Our criminal justice system is an unmitigated
disaster, yet what is required to fix it is amazingly simple but over the moon
America’s inner cities need a
Marshall Plan that includes compensation for systemic unemployment caused by
decades of racist oppression, from the end of Reconstruction, to Jim Crow, to
redlining, and current recognition of the transformation effects of digital app
technology on employment. The expectation that traditional employment
opportunities are going to spring up en masse in inner cities in enough numbers
to solve inner-city employment without a formidable investment is pure fantasy.
The moral objective of policing
must be to make communities safe, not play a numbers game based on the pretense
that the numbers are more important than the people served. If you want to
assess the quality of community policing, numbers are less important than the
feelings of being safe, less important than the people who live there actually
feeling safe. When the citizens in poor neighborhoods feel protected from bad
actors and oppressive policing, the goal will be reached, but not until then.
Worse, local politicians often
fund their government on the backs of poor citizens, by focusing on traffic
tickets and misdemeanor fines that have nothing whatsoever to do with safety,
but everything to do with a funding arrangement that effectively turns petty
crimes into felonies. And while their police officers are tied up with minor
incidents to raise revenue, they aren’t available when real emergencies
occur. So, in a nutshell, over-policing leads to under-protection.
And of critical importance, the
problem of racial bias in policing won’t be solved until it becomes commonplace
that police officers and the general public have a much better understanding of
how our minds work with respect to implicit bias.
If the current level of misunderstanding about how bias works had
been the plan of saboteurs to confuse us, it would be hard to figure out how to
do a better job, if the objective was to bewilder and mystify. I can say
this much without worry of being incorrect: If you haven’t studied the subject
of racial bias intensively, you can’t be objective about it. It’s just not
What makes these problems so
infuriating and existentially sad is that we have known since Reconstruction
what is necessary to address systemic racism and inner-city poverty, but the
inevitable greed-based corruption that comes with the ambition exhibited by
hierarchal governmental authority is damned near impossible to correct across
the board, and David Simon’s series makes this point crystal clear.
I had made up my mind that I
was going to shelve this book project if we didn’t retake the House of
Representatives in 2018. Now I must contend with the possibility of promoting a
work on police reform in the event of Trump being reelected, since it seems
that doing so would be sort of like spitting into the wind.
But after some serious
reflection, I realize that this kind of thinking is misplaced, because I
believe that most of the police officers in this country and most of the public
servants in the Justice Department are well intentioned; most really do want
justice for all, but the bureaucratic mess that has been created by partisan
politics represents a staggering obstacle.
When you think of the irony in
the fact that at the very time when we have a serial sexual predator in the
White House, that there would be so many positive results stemming from the
#metoo movement, that perhaps the same principle can be applied to Bill Barr’s
right-wing politicization of the Justice Department, and we can improve
policing in the shadows of tyrants, whose call for law and order has more to do
with repressing minorities in what they view as a deserved punitive
comeuppance, than anything to do with justice.
The paper version of Blue
Bias is available now on Amazon and a Kindle version can be preordered
with a release date of March 31st. If you are an Amazon Prime
member, I believe the Kindle edition will be free. This was an expensive book
to produce. I have more than 10k invested in the bibliography alone, and there
are well over 600 endnotes.
I’m encouraged that some of the readers of the manuscript who
adamantly opposed me on some issues said that, despite their disagreement, Blue
Bias is a pleasurable read. I took this to mean they were talking
about clarity and it being easy to understand. If you should read it, I would
be very much interested in your thoughts. I believe Blue Bias offers the best
explanation of how bias works than any I have ever read, and recommend it for