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Styling and Profiling

Ain't it sad.

by Brooks Gardner
May 30, 2006

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Styling and Profiling

Those who support the concept of racial profiling say that it is a useful tool for those who are protecting our freedom. Racial profiling may not be proper, but it is in style. Americans are begining to see support for racial profiling at many levels of government.

In Colorado, Governor Bill Owens signed a bill that allows every employee of local government to build their own policy of racial profilling based on their own beliefs. This leaves the window open for any employee who has a personal agenda on immigration to make a decision based on racial profilling.

Racial profiling is, in this writer's view, a cheap shot at racial and ethnic groups in America and without further information makes for lousy ethnic unrest in our country. Attorney General John Ascroft agrees that America has a moral obligation to prohibt racial profilling. Ascroft went on to re-inforce the concept that race-based assumptions in law enforcement perpetuates negative racial sterotypes that are harmful to the diverse American democracy. He called it a lose-lose situation.

I am confident that the vast majority of law enforcement officers perform their duties with fairness. However, any instance of racial profiling is destructive to our system of justice. There are followers of al-Queda and Islamic extremism in numerous countries. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to believe that these groups work around any profile by recruiting only those who wouldn't trigger suspicion. An example of this is would-be shoe bomber, Richard Reid (a Caribbean and British black man) who slipped through security in France because he didn't fit a profile.

There is faulty logic in the profiling of any group. Property rights activists, members of racist, separatist, and hate groups, religious extremists, and environmental and animal rights activists appeared in a Virginia training manual used to help state employees recognize terrorists. The Virginia manual suggested that these persons may be carrying any of the following items: sketch pads or notebooks, maps or charts, still or video cameras, hand-held tape recorders, SCUBA equipment and disguises.

Focused and committed; team-oriented and disciplined; familiar with their physical environments; employ a variety of vehicles and communicate by cell phone, email, or text messaging; look like students, tourists, or businesspersons; and travel in a mixed group of men, women, and children are attributes on the Texas list.

The whole thing of profilling becomes ludicrous and silly, if it wasn't so sad.

Any of us could be picked to be in the profile of a terrorist.

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