As Mayor Pete Buttigieg contended with skyrocketing crime rates in South Bend, Ind., the city’s police department trained officers to combat “sizeism” and “languageism,” according to newly revealed documents.
South Bend’s police department instituted a series of diversity and anti-discrimination training sessions in 2017. The training sessions took place as violent crime surged in the city, reaching the highest level in 20 years in 2018. The training extended far beyond the immediate issues facing the city and instead lectured cops on policing their own language to be sensitive to “isms.”
The training slides for one of the sessions contained a list of nefarious “isms” that allegedly perpetuate prejudice and power dynamics. The denounced “isms” include familiar issues such as racism and sexism along with such topics as “sizeism,” “languageism,” and “materialism.”
During his eight-year tenure as mayor, Buttigieg struggled with South Bend’s rising crime rate and the deteriorating relationship between the city’s police and black community. The city’s problems spilled into the national spotlight when a South Bend police officer fatally shot a black resident in June, forcing the mayor to leave the campaign trail and fly home.
The slides for one of the sessions urged officers to avoid the use of “ableist” terms, such as “hearing-impaired.”
The South Bend Police Department did not respond to request for comment.