August 5, 2005
Written by C.N.
Salon.com reports that at least two New York State legislators are calling for New York police authorities to engage in racial profiling in their anti-terrorist activities, rather than inconveniencing “ordinary” citizens who “do not fit the profile”:
Middle Easterners should be targeted for searches on city subways, two elected officials said, contending that police have been wasting time with random checks in efforts to prevent terrorism in the transit system. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and Mayor Michael Bloomberg have said several times that officers will not engage in racial profiling.
But over the weekend, state Assemblyman Dov Hikind said police should be focusing on those who fit the “terrorist profile.” “They all look a certain way,” said Hikind, a Democrat from Brooklyn. “It’s all very nice to be politically correct here, but we’re talking about terrorism.” . . .
Hikind said he planned to introduce legislation allowing police to racially profile, and [Republican City Councilman James] Oddo said he intended to introduce a resolution in the City Council supporting the measure.
Apparently, many people, especially politicians, still think that it’s perfectly fine to target particular groups of people based on the actions of a very few — to generalize the criminal activities of a few people to an entire community. The last time I checked, not only is that called racial profiling, but it’s also known as racial discrimination, scapegoating, and most importantly, illegal.
I hope other politicians come to their senses and realize that in the long term, this sort of proposal represents the absolute worst response possible when it comes to dealing with terrorism in the U.S., since it will infuriate and alienate the very same group of people that authorities need to cooperate and work with in order to properly address the terrorism issue.
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Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "Calls for Racial Profiling in NYC" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/2005/08/calls-for-racial-profiling-in-nyc/> ().
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