Addressing the Emotional Signals

Most discussions of racism and abuse from police is often more about signaling rather than addressing anything useful.

Most people don’t actually have to directly endure the downsides of police abuse, but they do see the emotional signals from it in our society. We all see some videos, emotional pleas and our friends saying they care … but we don’t actually have to endure being over charged for minor offenses, the dehumanization of being arrested, or being ruled over by people when we have no power.

People subconsciously are more interested in addressing the emotional signals rather than addressing the abuse. The issue in their subconscious isn’t actually the abuse, but rather being acceptable and good in the eyes of the “tribe”. They want to show that they care more than they want to solve the problem. Our minds are so creative in constructing narratives that they don’t realize that their strong social impulses mask as genuine concern over real problems. This is how people ignore such horrific suffering that is out of trend within the tribe, but feel emotions so vividly when it is in vogue.

Overall, people aren’t much incentivized to address these sorts of problems directly until it actually is real to them. They will rather opt to address and reflect the emotional signals they are receiving from society. A genuine desire to address government/police abuse won’t happen unless radically more people have more experience within the justice system so it becomes real, but the problem is usually best solved through decentralization. The underlying incentives is where the real problems lie (power differentials, accountability, decentralization, freedom of association, limiting human bias in legal processes), but our minds want to focus on what is easier to signal (racial bias, sensitivity, love, victim/predator narratives).

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Aaron White, married to a swell girl, is a business owner and unschooling father of two, going on three. His hobbies are music and poker. He resides in Southern California.