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Is There Anything Left To Say About Racial Profiling?
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April 18, 2012, 03:42 AM
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The George Zimmerman case, in which the special prosecutor singled the Epitome of All Evil out for having "profiled" an unfamiliar 6`2" young black male, has, as they say, Reignited the Debate over Racial Profiling. But is there any actual debate in terms of either side grappling with the other side`s arguments, rather than for one side to have the other side`s proponents fired?

For example, here is what I wrote in VDARE way, way back in October 2000 after listening to a Presidential debate in which Bore and Gush Gore and Bush denounced racial profiling. As iSteve readers, but nobody else in the whole world, will recall, Bush was particularly insistent that profiling of Arab and/or Muslim airline passengers as potential terrorists — "flying while Arab" — would be abolished by a new Bush Administration. And so it came to pass ...

I went on to say in 2000:

This debate over racial profiling shows how utterly divorced American political discourse has become from personal reality. Every single person who lives in a diverse part of the country racially profiles every other pedestrian as he walks down the street at night. Jesse Jackson notoriously admitted that he does exactly that - and sighs with relief when he finds that the footsteps following him don`t belong to a young black male.  

Indeed, the black-white ratio would be even higher if the FBI didn`t insist upon counting most Hispanics as whites. This obfuscatory tactic makes it hard to break out precise crime figures for Hispanic groups. Most estimates place their rates of violence as well below those of African Americans - but well above those of whites. For example, Fox Butterfield reported in The New York Times on August 10, 2000 that Hispanics are imprisoned at a rate three times higher than "Anglo" whites. 

The reason we all do this is simple: African Americans commit far more violent crimes than anybody else. For example, according to official Clinton Administration statistics, in 1998 on a per capita basis blacks were seven times more murderous than whites. And this ratio is down significantly from the early nineties when the black crack wars were blazing. [http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/homicide/race.htm]

Actually, now I come to think about it, I do recall meeting one (1) man who never engaged in racial profiling. At a wedding reception in 1985, I got to talking with someone from Grant`s Pass, Oregon. He was most upset by how whites (other than himself) worried more about black muggers than muggers of other races. "That`s pure racism!" he insisted. 

I proposed to him a thought experiment. Say your wife`s car runs out of gas in the middle of the night in a desolate neighborhood. She has no idea which way to walk to find a gas station. However, if she walks one way she has to pass by a half dozen black youths lounging on a corner. If she walks the other way, she would have to pass by a half dozen Indian immigrant youths. Which way would you prefer she went? 

"I would be completely indifferent," he replied. 

"Well, then, for your sake, I`m glad you live in Grass Pants, Oregon." 

"Where I live is irrelevant!" he responded triumphantly. "I`ve already been mugged three times!"

 

About all I can think of to add after all these years is this: Is it shamefully illiberal and politically incorrect for one sex to profile the other sex while walking down the street late at night with little security around? Is it a violation of our most sacred beliefs in gender equality that, for example, I try to make women walking late at night on an empty street feel less nervous by the presence of a strange man by my, say, crossing to the other side of the street, or by my walking on the far edge of the sidewalk out of arm`s reach of them when passing them? Should I be deeply insulted that these good manners make women less nervous? Should I nurse a deep sense of rage over how these women are, subconsciously profiling me as a possible violent crime threat to themselves based solely on my accident of birth as a man?

On the other hand, on a busy, safe afternoon in broad daylight, would I resent it if a woman expected me to inconvenience myself by crossing the street? Sure. Especially if she were wearing a chador and didn`t want me come close enough to her while walking down the street to cause a scandal with her in-laws that might lead to her brothers setting her on fire or whatever. 

Yeah, of course, who needs that kind of drama and those kind of people in their own neighborhood?

Now, the feminist explanation is purely Who? Whom? I possess Patriarchal Privilege so I must sacrifice for women. But my perspective is more realistic and sophisticated: that politeness suggests different behaviors for different people in different situations. Moreover, I also believe in political responses: treat rape as a serious crime, have the police hassle gangs of men who make weird sucking noises at women as they walk by, and so forth.

Of course, much of the response to allowing Women to Take Back the Night involves racial profiling and other police tactics with disparate racial impact. The liberal response is that to point out conflicting interests between liberalism`s various sacralized victim groups (women, blacks, illegal immigrants, etc.) is crimethink, so we should all engage in crimestop, or protective stupidity.