Saturday, July 25, 2009

Racial Profiling in America

Do you believe that America is color blind? That racism is a problem of the past? If so, then you're probably white. If you're a person of color, your experience is likely different. The recent fracas initiated by the arrest of a distinguished Harvard professor for "disorderly conduct," an arrest that led to a probably unadvised comment by the President -- which of course set off the Rush Limbaugh set. This comment about stupidity, gave Rush the opportunity he's been waiting for to call the President a militant black. Mind you, militant probably means "uppity." Remember back during the presidential campaign, when Obama was called an "elitist"? I think that this meant he was "uppity."

Anyway, we'll likely never know the complete truth of this encounter. We have two different stories, and you have to decide who is telling the truth -- the white police officer or the Harvard professor. While we may never know the truth in this case, the reality is that people of color experience discrimination and prejudice on a regular basis. This is especially true of Black men. I think every African-American I've ever met has at least one story of a racially tinged encounter.

In today's NY Times, columnist Charles Blow offers his own story and some statistics. It appears that 66% of African American males have felt that they had been stopped by police because of their race -- only 9% of white males said the same. So, Blow says to Gates -- welcome to the club.

The President, who has stepped back from the remark at the press conference -- a remark that has overshadowed his statements on health care -- has called this a teachable moment. I hope that we can learn something. I hope we can learn that race is still an issue in our nation. I hope that we can learn that politicians can and do manipulate racial fears for political gain (it's already happening). It's time to listen to each other, so that we might understand.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the professor wasn't stopped "because he's black" but because he was exhibiting suspicious behavior that a reasonable person would suspect to be a burglar.

And instead of getting mouthy with the cop when id was established, he'd appreciate the police department's efforts to protect his life and property, knowing that if there really was a burglary at his house, the police would make the arrest.

PRH....... said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PRH....... said...

You are a Christain wannabee, but a real life Liberal BS artist.

Perhaps if 6% of the non prison population(black males) didn't commit 45% of violent crimes, they would not get profiled? They do, because they do, but I must be one of those right wing Christian haters, that folks like you despise.

Guess that was a little kinder than my original post...Have a nice day.

Anonymous said...

Nice blog. Surf's up/ tops down?
Is he old enough to look PRH?

Very unpolitically correct of you, congrats.

This will be solved over a beer, no matter how much you'd like it to continue hurting.

David Mc