Racial Profiling: One of America’s Biggest Problems

7 Apr

racial discrimination

       Racial profiling is defined as a form of discrimination by which law enforcement uses a person’s race or cultural background as the primary reason to suspect that the individual has broken the law. African Americans have been the victims of racial profiling since the 19th century. Blacks have always been at the bottom of the United States socially, politically, and economically because of discrimination and racism. This type of discrimination dates all the way back to slavery. Blacks are seen as uncivilized, savage-like, and criminals by the white supremacy and therefore subject to racial profiling.

       Still to this day racial profiling exists and blacks are still the number one victims of this horrible system. For example, in New Orleans, one report documented that 93% of black youth have been arrested for breaking curfew in the city. On the surface, this looks innocent, and could just be seen as a strict rule that black youth don’t follow. But if you consider the fact that only 7% of white youth have been arrested for the same offense, there is clearly an issue at hand. It’s not that white youth are just in the house by curfew more than black youth. This is clearly a sign of racial profiling because the number of black youth arrested is drastically higher than the number of white youth arrested.  From 2009 to 2012, there were 5,099 black boys arrested for curfew as well as 2,098 black girls. In that same time frame, NOPD arrested 525 white children — 313 boys and 212 girls. The significant difference in the number of arrest between white and black youth is evident that there is some racial profiling happening in this case. Clearly, there is racism here. Are the police of New Orleans turning a blind eye to the white youth that are breaking curfew? Or are they simply just going after the black youth because of their skin color? I personally believe the latter is true. I feel that there is a prejudice system that is set up to work against all blacks in America.

        Let’s not forget the still pending case of Trayvon Martin; a black teenage male who was shot and killed in Florida. George Zimmerman, a white male that claimed the neighborhood watch coordinator, felt that the hoodie wearing Trayvon looked suspicious as he walked back from the corner store. It was because Trayvon was black walking in a predominately white neighborhood, in clothing that is considered urban, that he was shot. He was carrying a bag of skittles and a tea when he was killed. No weapon was found on his body. This is racial profiling at its worst in the 21st century. This case is usually compared to the brutal murder of Emmett Till in the 1955. Another teenaged boy who was beat and tortured to death for flirting with a white woman. He was punished so harshly because he was black. The white men trialed for his murder beat him to the point that he wasn’t recognizable, all because he allegedly whistled at a white woman. 

        I find all of these cruel and unusual acts that blacks have to suffer because of their skin color to be down-right immoral. The fact that the racial profilers are more than likely never punished is even more upsetting.  But this is America, a nation built on the foundation of racist impurity.

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Is it true? Can it be? Am I a racist? Does racism even exist?

19 Mar

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      The seminar titled “Refashioning Blackness Conference” featured Mrs. Claudia, a powerful woman who spoke in Portuguese about the racism experienced by people who live in Columbia. To my surprise, Columbians consider themselves to be black and the struggles they have and continue to endure in their part of the world is similar to the African American struggle in America in many ways.

      The portion of her lecture that struck me most was the fact that many people were unaware that racism existed and that they took part in it on a daily basis. She stated white people living in Columbia were completely unaware of their participation in racism because they had never been exposed to a culture that was comprised of so many black people. Their only exposure came from the narrow minded portrayal of us on television or through other media outlets. She also mentioned, that the existence of racism never entered the mind of the Columbians who had grown up in neighborhoods made up solely of people who looked like them, which explains why they were unaware of racism’s existence until they removed themselves from these areas.

      This brought to mind a situation I was faced with my freshman year in the Introduction to African American Culture, a class taught by Dr. Joni Jones. A white female classmate stated in tears that she was unaware that she was a racist because she grew up with people who looked like her and the only information she had access to about races different from hers came from the media. We discussed daily how African Americans were discriminated against through racist remarks, racially charged jokes, and are forced to face and combat the stereotypes the media places on them. I believe it was then that she realized the part she played in continuing racism.

      She grew up in a small suburban town that was made up predominately of whites and her opinions of African Americans came from what trickled down through the media, family, and friends. She began to realize how asking every African American male who looked 6 feet tall and taller if he was a basketball player only perpetuated the stereotype that the only way African American males can be successful was through sports. She was completely unaware that the unconscious reaction to clutch her purse closer when she encountered an African American was also racist. However, this is how she learned to behave based on the portrayals from media and the behaviors of her parents and friends.

      Taking this girl’s experiences into account, Mrs. Claudia’s assertion that racism exists not only in the US but in Columbia as well makes perfect sense. The reason for this unconscious racism stems from their lack of interaction and experiences with black people. Because of this, individuals form their opinions about others from what they see on television and the exposure those races receive from the media. It is for these reasons that individuals are ignorant to the fact that they have and continue to commit racist acts or do not even realize that it exist.

http://abagond.wordpress.com/2010/01/26/racism-101/

https://www.stcloudstate.edu/affirmativeaction/resources/insights/pdf/28ToolsChange.pdf