Tag Archives: Racial profiling

A New Kind of Slavery

Segregation of Restrooms

Segregation of Restrooms (Photo credit: Universal Pops)

Since the verdict of the George Zimmerman trial, I have watched the reactions from all sides with a sense of frustration. More than once I have found myself shouting at the radio, TV, or computer screen “just what do you want from us?”  The supporters of Trayvon and his family were adamant in their desire for a fair trial, for justice.   Once granted that trial and justice being served, they now want another trial in Federal Court under civil rights violations.  OK, just what was it that you wanted?  Justice or vengeance?  The leaders in the black community are calling for an end to racial profiling. However, they refuse to earnestly acknowledge that it is the violent behavior of many young black men, and the undisputable fact that young black men commit a disproportionate number of crimes, that are the causes of such profiling.  Instead, race-baiters like Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and local black leadership foment an unreasonable fear of white people, and authority.  Many black parents now teach their children to keep their hands in view and speak respectfully to police officers. They tell them not to wear baggy pants, hoodies in the summer or let their underwear show.  They teach them not to be out late at night or hang out in certain areas or with known gang-bangers.  They  teach their children that they must do these things not to instill better values, but because white people have an irrational fear of black people and because of this, young black men are always in danger of being unfairly incarcerated or worse.  Funny thing is, these are some of the same things I have taught my kids.  Not because they might be the victims of a perceived injustice, but because it is the correct way to behave.  You are supposed to have respect for authority, and to dress and behave respectfully, if you want to be respected yourself.

There is clearly a disconnect between how the black community and the white community perceive identical situations.  In the white community, it makes perfect sense to assume that someone who dresses like, talks like, and has the same swaggering posture as a thug, is a thug.  According to the black community we should not make such assumptions unless the person has actually committed a crime against us. Mind you, it’s OK for blacks to be suspicious of other blacks, but if it is done by a white person, it’s profiling and should be illegal.   To most business owners, it is a sound business practice to analyze inventory and to secure merchandize that is often stolen.   If those items happen to be frequently purchased by blacks, then it is not business, it’s racism.

Almost without exception, black people will tell you of how they have been followed by store clerks, heard the locking of doors, and witnessed white people clutching their purses tighter when they approached. Even the President told of his experience.  I know that personally, when I meet a black person, unless that person, is dressed like or acting like a thug, I don’t behave that way. In fact, I can’t think of anyone I know who does. Could the experiences passed down from generations past, documented  accounts of past horrid treatment at the hands of whites, affect how you perceive your world today?  Could it be perhaps, that you have been conditioned by your culture to expect this kind of treatment and are hyper-sensitive to it?

No one in my generation, black or white, has attended a segregated school, used a segregated bathroom, eaten at a segregated lunch counter or knew anyone who owned or was a slave.  Our parents may have, our grandparents surly did.  But that was two generations ago.  We get it. We really do. Judging someone by the color of their skin is wrong.  It’s why we no longer form lynch mobs, or petition to keep black people out of our neighborhoods.  It’s why we think nothing of working, shopping or commuting with our black neighbors. The thought of returning to the pre-civil rights era is as abhorrent to us as it is to the black community.  That is why whites in America are becoming increasingly frustrated at being judged for what our ancestors did to your ancestors.

Told by politicians pandering for their votes, a media desperate for ratings and leaders within their own community hungry for power, that they deserve reparation, many of today’s blacks are no longer content with seeking a level playing field and a color blind society, they seek retribution.  By allowing themselves to be used by leaders more interested in increasing their own power, and by becoming dependent on government entitlements, the black community has embraced victim-hood.  By doing so, they have willingly become slaves all over again.  And this time no amount of white guilt can undo the damage.  It’s something the black community must do for itself.

And Justice for All

Trayvon Martin Protest - Sanford

Trayvon Martin Protest – Sanford (Photo credit: werthmedia)

As the George Zimmerman trial gets underway, there have been cries throughout the country for “justice for Trayvon. What we all should be asking for is justice period.  I’m hoping that the trial will answer some of the questions I have about what really happened that night.  Zimmerman was obviously beaten.  I’d like to know why.  For me it hinges on one thing.  Who approached whom?  If Zimmerman was actively following Trayvon it could be reasonably assumed that Trayvon was the one who felt threaten and he beat Zimmerman in an act of self-defense.  On the other hand, if Zimmerman was simply observing Trayvon, then he was acting in self-defence. What troubles me about this trial is that before most of us had heard anything about this case, the media was already spinning it as the racially motivated killing of a poor, defenseless black child by a paranoid neighborhood vigilante. The evidence that was shown early in the case was carefully edited to fit this narrative.  Time has given us a clearer perspective.  Zimmerman is not simmering with a deep-seated hatred of blacks. Yet, he is not a likable character. A cop wannabe, he lost a lot of credibility when he and his wife lied about their financial status.  Trayvon, however, was not a squeaky clean choirboy.  He had a been suspended from school and had a history of smoking dope.

Equally troubling is how the race baiters (Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton et. al.) wasted no time in using this tragedy for self promotion.  Making sure the cameras were rolling, they posited their theory that Trayvon was killed because white people have an unreasonable fear of young black men who wear baggy pants and hoodies and listen to rap music.  Nowhere in their call for a dialog on racial profiling was the admission that maybe, just maybe, young black men who fit that description are looked upon with suspicion because a disproportionate number of them are involved in violent crimes.  Instead they stoked the dying embers of racial tension.  So much so, that the fear of race riots has possibly caused the prosecution to resort to dirty tactics to ensure a conviction.  This is in stark contrast to Travon’s parents.  Good people who tried to do what was best for their troubled teen.  They have turned their grief into action by setting up a charitable foundation.  They continue to pray for peace, healing and justice.

I do have to wonder though, what if the evidence shows that Trayvon was the aggressor?  What happens if Zimmerman is found innocent.  Is justice really what is wanted here? Or is it vengeance? Regardless of the verdict, justice for George Zimmerman is justice for Trayvon, too.

Just Another Profile of Profiling

racism \ a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce and inherent superiority of a particular race (Webster’s New collegiate Dictionary 150th Anniversary Edition)

The Trayvon Martin case has once again prompted a call for a dialog about racial profiling. Usually this means that the black community wants the white community to understand that they find profiling to be demeaning and sometimes potentially dangerous. That is understandable. Profiling in its most basic form is a kind of stereotyping. Many cultures and subcultures are stereotyped in derogatory ways and when a person of a certain culture, especially one who is aware of the stereotype and works hard to overcome it is, however judged in that way, it is insulting and demeaning.

Any truly productive examination of profiling however has to look beyond the rhetoric, to seek the real reasons why certain groups of people are profiled. More often than not, it has nothing to do with skin color; rather it is a reaction to the behaviors of a large portion of people within a particular group. We all profile to some degree. Anytime we approach a person we don’t know, we subconsciously size them up to determine whether or not they are a threat to our safety. If that person appears by his looks or actions to be a threat we will behave in a defensive manner.
That is not racism. It is human nature. Black people are not the only ones who deal with this, Many Muslims who choose to dress in the traditional Muslim fashion are also profiled because of the terrorism committed by Islamic extremists. The main reason why black people, particularly young black males, are often looked upon with suspicion is not because they are black, but because young black males commit a disproportionate number of violent crimes. These young men usually dress and behave in a way that is meant to be provocative, (baggy pants with underwear showing, hoodies and jackets during the summer). When young black males who are not out looking for trouble choose for whatever reason (usually because they think it looks cool) to imitate the troublemakers they will be perceived as being part of that group. After all, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck. In fact, young white males who choose to dress and behave in this manner are also looked upon with suspicion.

Most white people want unity with black people and are able to look beyond skin color to see what’s inside. We are bewildered, saddened and insulted when we are accused of racism when it is so obviously not the issue. The black community needs to realize that more often than not, they are being judged by the content of their character and that character, for some in the black community is being found wanting. The people to blame for the mistrust between the black and white communities and the tragedies that result are not the so-called profilers, but the black hoodlums who terrorize not only whites, but their own neighborhoods as well. Beguiling their little brothers into a life of easy money, and wasted lives. Those law-abiding black people who have worked hard, educated themselves, and have become productive members of society who are tired of having to live with the taint of the hoodlums, need to understand that these problems will not be resolved until they look to the inside, of their community. Work with law enforcement and openly condemn the gang culture, and the entitlement culture and come to accept that maybe it isn’t about race after all.

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