Law Enforcement and racial profiling…who is the blame?

Many individuals still believe that racial profiling doesn’t exist.  Many also believe that if racial profiling exists that it’s acceptable. GOP Candidate Dan Fanelli considers racial profiling to be okay.  In a campaign add created early 2010 it states: “Does this look like a terrorist,” he asks, gesturing to a white guy in business casual attire, “Or this?” With that, a swarthy man in a black T-shirt walks on screen, as ominous James Bond-esque music blares. How should one of either race feel after viewing this add?  If those in power have this mentality, how can policy be shifted to adapt to the constant evolution of society and perception or race equality?

Racial profiling has developed in intensity over the years, particularly in a political aspect.  Many African-Americans believe that they are automatically targeted by law enforcement regardless if they are innocent or not. The arrest of Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. in July 2009 demonstrates the lack in policy recognition and awareness of many law enforcement and government officials when dealing with conflicting situations.

Gates was arrested for disorderly conduct after returning home from China to find out that his home was burglarized. A drive by neighbor contacted law enforcement, did not mention race, yet Gates was arrested. Later prosecution dropped the charges. Gates has a record of receiving 50 honorary degrees, being listed in the “25 Most Influential Americans” and many more prestigious awards. These honors were not held as a factor when being arrested at his home. No matter how successful African Americans become, there is always a stigma or racial determination made based on history that holds us back from true equality.

One public school administrator states that “It’s more important for me to make it home than to fight for a cause I’m not going to win.” As African Americans we should be able to voice our thoughts on racial profiling without being penalized for speaking our mind and addressing a REAL problem in our world.



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