Center on Race and Social Problems

Police official Maurita Bryant discusses race, gender bias on the job

In general, Bryant added, people “think of diversity as just black and white. Diversity is having people with different thoughts at the table. You have all white males at the table? You’re going to think like all white males.

“When black females came on the job for the first time, there was no connection” to the way of thinking among white male police officers who dominated the force, she said. They may not have hated the new black and female recruits, she allowed, but “they just couldn’t connect to them … so there was a period of adjustment.”

She counseled that minorities and women entering previously white- or male-dominated professions “have to earn your respect through relationships with people … and those racial barriers break down after that. When we don’t talk to each other,” it is impossible to create mutual understanding, she added.