Racial Profiling at it’s Best

Yesterday one of the brightest academic superstars in America, Henry Louis  Gates was arrested for  breaking in to his own home. Gates was returning from a trip to China when he found that his door had jammed.  While he was trying to get into his home a neighbor called the police with her suspicions that her neighbor’s home was being robbed. She did not see two men dressed in suits, she did not see the limo parked in front of the house, he did not see the baggage on the porch, all she saw was the color of Gates’ and his drivers skin. If a 60-year-old white man was struggling with his front door, would she have called the police or come over and given him a hand?

Gates’ is a small man who walks with a cane, best known PBS dealers for his story of documentaries on the African-American experience. These documentaries are aimed at educating white Americans about our history.  Gates has never covered modern day racist practices, perhaps in an effort not to alienate  his white audience. He is a full professor at Harvard and lives in an upper middle class neighborhood. He has successfully assimilated into mainstream America. He is, in old school white parlance   “a credit a to his race.” His upper class status may have protected him from racial profiling in the past, so when faced with what most black Americans face every day, he got angry. He spoke the truth when he stated that he was not being given equal protection under the law because of his race.

One would think that the first thing the police should do when they have a report of a home burgled (once is it secured), is to find the owner of the home and get a report .Why didn’t this policeman indicate to Gates that there was a report of a break in at this address? Why did he, without explanation demand that the professor come out of his own home and produce two forms of ID? Why were other police called when Gates asked the cop for his name and badge number? Why was asking these questions disorderly conduct? The answer is obvious the policeman was following the procedures for the capture of a criminal, not an inquiry from a home owner. The police officer had no  idea that a person of color could actually live in an exclusive community.

Many whites responding to this event see this as a single indent and that Gates was an  uppity ni##er. The next time anyone tells you that all blacks need to do is respect the men and women in blue. Show them some of the incidents that I have listed below. Perhaps then they will see that racial profiling is institutional pattern that robs people of color of their  dignity and the right to equal protection under the law.

A few months ago Ryan Moats, a football player for the Philadelphia Eagles and his family were stopped in a Texas hospital parking lot. The officer drew his weapon and stated “I can screw you over.” Even after a nurse corroborated that his mother-in-law was indeed at death’s door the officer still would not let Moates go. By the time Motes was freed his mother-in-law died.

A Harrisburg, Pennsylvania police officer who shot an unarmed black teen last week also killed a man in an off-duty shooting in 2007. The policeman claimed the teen had a gun while a gunshot reside proves that the teen had not possessed or fired a gun.

New York cops killed a police rookie last month while he was chasing a criminal who had burgled his car. They did not wait for him to identify himself shooting him down as soon he made the attempt to elicit their assistance in capturing the real criminal.

Last week the National Association of Black Law Enforcement Officers and the local chapters of the National Black Police Association and the NAACP filed a lawsuit alleging that some Philadelphia cops are posting racist diatribes on the cop website Domelights.com’s while on duty. This had created “racially harassing and hostile work environment” for black officers.

Last May, it was discovered that police in Tenaha, Texas police officials “have developed an illegal ’stop and seize’ practice of targeting, stopping, detaining, searching and often seizing property from non-white citizens. Town officials knew about this practice and collaborated with stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from black and Hispanic travelers. Tenaha police are now part of a lawsuit seeking to end this criminal behavior.


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