the hypocrisy of racial profiling

Hardly a day goes by without reference to the evil of racial profiling.  Accusations of racial profiling are meant to portray the “profiler” as racist.

The problem is that the accusers are generally hypocrites.  Does anyone know of a single African-American without a story about mistreatment of African-Americans at the hands of a white cop?  The race of cops arresting African-Americans is always an issue.  Isn’t that racial profiling?  The assumption of unfair treatment is immediately on the table if the arresting officer is white.  How is that not racial profiling?  Another prevalent assumption is that an African-American cannot get a fair trial from an all-white jury.  How is that not racial profiling?

Sure, there are an untold number of instances of racial discrimination of African-Americans by whites.  That’s the point.  The number of instances is so large it can’t help but lead to profiling.  As humans we are pre-disposed to “profiling” in order to survive as a species.  We sub-consciously categorize potential dangers in order to make them easier to spot so we can take defensive measures when needed.

Imagine that you are driving down the road when you are suddenly surrounded by what appears to be the Hell’s Angels.  Don’t waste your time trying to convince me that you are not on high alert for potential danger.  Although most tattooed, bandana-wearing, Harley Davidson-driving motorcyclists are, in real life, middle-aged accountants and bankers hoping to re-live a youth they never participated in, some are meth-dealing thugs.   If I had to guess, I’d guess less than one percent of Harley riders are criminals.  But we profile them all as a potential danger.  UNTIL we have had the opportunity to evaluate them more carefully, our first response is to profile them and be alert.  If it was a gaggle of nuns you were suddenly surrounded by I doubt you’d be wondering if you had remembered to pack your baseball bat.

Many people strive to fall into a certain profile.  Its their choice.  Their reasons are their reasons, but when they are “profiled” it is because they have chosen to be profiled.  Kids dressing up like thugs is an example.  The root of the hoodie-wearing, pants-around-the-ankles movement is thuggery.  Plain and simple.  Dress up to look like a thug and people will think you are dangerous.  Guess what?  They do think you’re dangerous.  They profile you, initially, exactly the way you intended.  Wear a priest’s collar and some people will think you are trustworthy.  Race is a factor in some profiling.  Male African-Americans wearing suits and bowties might be profiled, initially, as Farrakhan-followers.  Whites dressing in the same way would not initially be classified at Farrakhan-followers (they’d probably be classified as professors).  Whites who look like the stereotypical skinhead are likely to be initially profiled as neo-nazis. African-Americans who adopt the “look and feel” of skinheads would never be profiled as neo-nazis – their race precludes that classification.

My point is that profiling is perfectly normal and it’s a good thing.  Racial discrimination is a bad thing.  They are not the same thing and pretending that they are is hypocritical and divisive.


I take full responsibility for my own opinions, comments and slurs against asshats.  I'm just another guy with just another opinion. Although, I may be turning into my father who my mother always said was 'the world's foremost authority."



About this entry