One of the most famous scientists in the world stepped out this week to address George Floyd’s death, and the protests that have been going on. Neil deGrasse Tyson wrote an op-ed while he watched thousands of protesters march past his home in New York. It touches on Colin Kaepernick, Rodney King, the stats behind white privilege, and his own experiences of being targeted by police because he’s black.
The title is “Reflections on the Color of My Skin,” and you can read the whole thing on Facebook. But there’s a part at the end where he lists six things he thinks we need to do to really address the problem of police brutality.
Here’s what he came up with:
- “Extend police academies to include MONTHS of cultural awareness and sensitivity training that also includes how not to use lethal force.” He notes that Minneapolis police training lasts four months . . . while much-less-dire things like being a pastry chef require eight months of training.
- “All police officers should be tested for any implicit bias they carry, with established thresholds of acceptance and rejection from the police academy.” In that section, he also links to a free implicit bias test you can take onlinethat was done by Harvard.
- “During protests, protect property [but also] protect lives.” Adding that “if [cops] attack non-violent protesters, [they] are being un-American. And we wouldn’t need draconian curfews if police arrested looters instead of protesters.”
- Speaking to cops, he says that “if fellow officers are behaving in a way that is clearly unethical or excessively violent,” they should step in and stop it. Quote, “Someone will get that on video, offering the rest of us confidence that you can police yourselves.”
- Minneapolis police should, quote, “give George Floyd the kind of full-dress funeral [they] give each other for dying in the line of duty.” And they should “vow that such a death will never happen again.”
- “When you see black kids in the street, think of what they can BE rather than what you think they are.”
Photo Credit: Neil deGrasse Tyson via Facebook