Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff

CEO, Center for Policing Equity
Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff works with police departments to help public safety be more equitable and less deadly.

Why you should listen

Self-proclaimed "justice nerd" Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff devotes himself to understanding how people think and talk about racism in order to prevent racist behavior -- particularly in policing. A professor, mediator and translator, he helps communities and law enforcement understand each other and address problems that have felt unsolvable for centuries. He identifies the need to shift how we define racism: not as a defect of character, but rather a pattern of behaviors that are measurable and changeable.

Goff quickly became a national leader in the science of racial bias by pioneering scientific experiments that exposed how our minds learn to associate Blackness and crime implicitly -- often with deadly consequences. His work exposed the disturbingly robust finding that people in the U.S. overestimate the age of Black children, a cognitive error that predicts higher levels of police force against those children. 

Goff is the president and cofounder of the Center for Policing Equity (CPE), a university research center that diagnoses the roots of disparate policing in order to eliminate them. The center is the world's largest research and action think tank on race and policing. CPE also boasts the world's largest collection of police behavioral data in the National Science Foundation-funded National Justice Database, which they have turned into a tool to reduce burdensome and inequitable policing through scientific analyses.

Goff received his AB from Harvard and PhD in psychology from Stanford. He has won two American Psychological Association early career awards, the Association for Psychological Science Rising Star award and the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executive's Lloyd G. Sealy Award, among many others. He regularly appears on MSNBC, provides congressional testimony and was a panelist for President Obama's Task Force on 21st Century Policing.

Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff’s TED talks

More news and ideas from Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff

Live from TED2020

The bill has come due for the US’s legacy of racism: Week 3 of TED2020

June 4, 2020

In response to the historic moment of mourning and anger over the ongoing violence inflicted on Black communities by police in the United States, four leaders in the movement for civil rights — Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff, CEO of Center for Policing Equity; Rashad Robinson, president of Color Of Change; Dr. Bernice Albertine King, CEO […]

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Live from TED2020

Conversations on social progress: Week 3 of TED2020

June 3, 2020

For week 3 of TED2020, global leaders in technology, vulnerability research and activism gathered for urgent conversations on how to foster connection, channel energy into concrete social action and work to end systemic racism in the United States. Below, a recap of their insights. Audrey Tang, Taiwan’s digital minister for social innovation Big idea: Digital […]

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