The Root 100 - The Most Influential African Americans in 2020 - 18: Phillip Atiba Goff

Oleg Dyachenko
·1 min read

Phillip Atiba Goff has been studying racism through the prism of social psychology for years, and his focus on figuring out how to combat it in American policing feels more valuable than ever in 2020. A graduate of Harvard College with a Ph.D. in psychology from Stanford, Goff has pioneered a path of research built on the thesis that racism is about behaviors and their impact-rather than feelings and intent-and thus can be tackled with specific actions. In 2015, long before the world's attention turned to the police force in Minneapolis this year as a result of George Floyd's killing, Goff was already pushing the city to institute changes that could measurably address racial disparities in the way cops there carry out policing. As co-founder and CEO of the Center for Police Equity, he is all about untangling the data behind discrimination and identifying solutions to seemingly intractable problems. A TED Talk he delivered last year about his think tank's approach to police reform has garnered more than 2 million views and counting; he was also part of then-President Barack Obama's promising Task Force on 21st Century Policing, has been called on by Congress to present his insights and is prepping the next generation to carry on this critical work as a professor at Yale University.