The is more to consent than its legal definition. Understanding how people experience consent has important implications for a variety of social issues, including medical decisions and interactions with law enforcement.
Data from research I recently conducted with Bette Bottoms and Phillip Goff, published in Law and Human Behavior, suggest that the psychological experience of such police encounters is very different for Black as compared to White citizens.
As a nation, we must commit to the complex and difficult work of change. Change can start with our willingness to talk honestly with each other and to have difficult dialogues regarding race relations and the persistence of racial bias in this country.
We are a long way from knowing precisely what happened in Ferguson, two weeks ago, but one thing is clear: The town’s name has become yet another synonym for the chasm of experience dividing white and black America.