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Racial Profiling - Is It Ever OK?: Left of Center View

The two stereo-types faced each other over the Quick Stop counter. The young African-American customer, pants riding low, baseball cap twisted sideways, gold chains dotting the front of his “Thug 4 Life” t-shirt, stared down the Arab / Indian clerk, whose blue turban perfectly matched the color of both his convenience store smock and the rubber-band that held his long beard in check. I rounded out the equation perfectly, the dorky, white guy in flip-flops, shorts and a faded Led Zeppelin t-shirt, clutching a bag of kitty litter in one arm, six pack of Bud Light dangling from my other. The customer had requested a strawberry swisher sweet cigarillo, the clerk had requested proof of age. The clerk’s sentence had the noun, verb and adjective in the incorrect order. The customer’s response held three different references to coitus and the always popular “N word” that urban hip-hop fans sprinkle across their conversations as frequently as their suburban counterparts invoke “like”.

Apparently the clerk did not like this reference, but in the excitement of the moment it sounded like he was denying being a “Nigerian”. The customer, stated that the clerk was indeed, only this time adding the preface “sand” to the word, thereby changing it from a linguistic space holder back into a racially charged epithet. The clerk questioned the customer’s family reliance on government assistance. The customer questioned the clerk’s immigration status. The clerk countered by inquiring as to whether the customer planned an attempt at forcibly removing the day’s proceeds from the register. The customer, remarked upon the clerks choice in head-wear and inquired as to the clerks interest in both explosive devices and commercial airlines. The clerk denied the allegations and informed the customer that he too was a citizen of the United States. The customer informed the clerk that until his English language skill improved he would be looked upon as an outsider by his fellow citizens. Both then enthusiastically voiced their support and practice of the Second Amendment and vowed a further exchange of ideas and elements. I bought kitty-litter at the service station across the street.

Profiling here was necessary. The law prohibits the sale of tobacco to individuals under the age of 18, the store’s posted policy is to request proof of age from everyone who appears to be under the age of 30. The clerk is expected to profile every customer who attempts to purchase tobacco products and perform an age verification based on his profile prior to the actual sale. This is also perfectly acceptable in the sale of alcohol or in the admission into an age restricted venue. So profiling is ok when age is the only factor. Of course the people who are turned away for not meeting the minimum age requirement are upset, but that is inevitable no matter the process. A tantrum will likely ensue.

We ask our law enforcement personnel to perform a slightly more complex form of profiling. Police officers are constantly required to make judgment calls based on their observations. But again, at least in theory, it is an abstract criteria that dictates the profile. Dress like a prostitute and the police, along with every other guy in the neighborhood, will watch you a little more closely. Doesn’t, or shouldn’t, matter what your ethnic background is, fit the profile and they will pay more attention to you.

Unfortunately we have now added race to this equation, and as often is the case, reason went right out the window. Every Arab is a terrorist! We are angry at terrorists, logical progression – we are now angry at every Arab, or just those we perceive as being of Middle Eastern decent. This is a huge and damaging mistake. Any policy born of ignorance is bound to fail. So while there is validity to profiling as a pre-emptive means, to allow race as a mitigating factor is unnecessary and does more harm than good. A properly trained profiler should be able to identify the other warning signs and be able to see past the exterior. After all Timothy McVeigh walked right past everyone.


Kyle Pesonen - Staff Writer | E-mail Comments on this column.

Got a liberal viewpoint? We want to know what you think.

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Send in your view from the Left to be our featured Left of Center View for the week.

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Last Week's View from the Left:
Who Wins When Undocumented Workers Come to America?

Previous Weeks Views from the Left:
NAFTA and the Election
How Can We Curb Illegal Immigration?
Fear Mongering and Illegal Immigration
Border Security and the War on Drugs
Outsourcing or Undocumented Workers: Which Hurts American Workers More?
Sierra Club vs. Border Fence
Who Owns America?
Redefining Immigration
Racism and the Immigration Debate
Free Trade vs. Fair Trade
Migrant Farm Workers and the Cost of Groceries
What Does a New Leader for Cuba Mean for America?
High Tech Worker Visas and American Unemployment
What's Wrong With Our Current Immigration System?
How Will The Upcoming Election Impact Immigration Policy?
National ID Cards for American Citizens
American Children of Undocumented Immigrants
Globalization and Immigration
Human Rights and Immigration Policy
Archives by Date




Racial Profiling - Is It Ever OK?: Right of Center View

This is such a no-brainer. Of course there are times when looking at someone’s appearance is just good law enforcement. While I don’t think it’s OK to pull someone over because they have a certain skin color and are driving a nice car, I think it’s fair to look a little closer at certain people at certain times. Let’s face it, the hijackers on 9/11 were not Mexican or Chinese or African Americans they were Arabs. Like it or not, the people who typically hijack planes and commit acts of terrorism primarily come from one part of the world.

That’s not to say that we should just be looking at the people from the Middle East when we are screening at the airport. I do think that we should be checking the people likely to be capable of committing terrorist acts but strip searching little old ladies is kind of ridiculous. Why in God’s name would you be searching Dionne Warwick or Teddy Kennedy for security reasons? They love this country and make piles of money from our system. What earthly reason would they have to blow up anything? There are the Timothy McVeigh’s of the world out there who have some sick twisted ideas about what it means to fight for freedom and we absolutely should be checking them out but we also need to let our security forces use some judgment without worrying about getting hit with some defamation lawsuit because they saw some guy from the Middle East sweating and looking around nervously in an airport and decided it might be a good idea to check him out.

The idea of profiling goes back many years and has been an effective tool for law enforcement for a long time. There are certain groups of people who hold ideals that pose risks to the people around them. For example the “O.G.” (Original Gangster) set in the inner cities glorify violence and openly flaunt an utter disregard for the rule of law. They dress in certain types of clothing, wear certain types of jewelry and ride in customized vehicles that have been made to express a specific “O.G.” style. When a cop on the street sees one of these people, it is a safe bet that they have been or are currently involved in some type of criminal behavior. When your lifestyle is promoted as the “pimp life” it is pretty clear that you don’t want to be a part of civilized society and therefore pose at least some threat to that lifestyle. People that choose to live that type of lifestyle should be under closer scrutiny. To not pay closer attention to them is to do a disservice to the community at large. To emulate that lifestyle if you don’t live it is pretty much just abject ignorance and not worthy of much respect either.

We need to let law enforcement and security personnel use their eyes and instincts to do their job. Just in case you forgot, their job is to keep the rest of us safe from the hooligans that would do us and our families harm. Racial profiling is much more complex than the liberals would have you believe. Just harassing people for having a certain skin color is reprehensible and should not be tolerated but looking at the dress and appearance of potential threats is just good law enforcement. Our protectors need to have the ability to size up a person and make a judgment about whether or not that person needs to be more closely scrutinized. Sometimes that judgment has to be based on intangible things like cultural predilections to solve issues in a manner that is harmful to others. You don’t see too many Mexican suicide bombers. It only makes sense to talk to the guy from Gaza who looks nervous in the airport to make sure he’s not thinking of taking a bunch of our fellow Americans to see Allah any time soon.

The Realist - Patriot at Large | E-mail Comments on this column.

Got a conservative viewpoint? We want to know what you think.

Next week's subject: What is a "Real" American?

Send in your view from the Right to be our featured Right of Center View for the week.

Click here to submit your article.

Last Week's View from the Right:
Who Wins When Undocumented Workers Come to America?

Previous Weeks Views from the Right:
NAFTA and the Election
How Can We Curb Illegal Immigration?
Fear Mongering and Illegal Immigration
Border Security and the War on Drugs
Outsourcing or Undocumented Workers: Which Hurts American Workers More?
Sierra Club vs. Border Fence
Who Owns America?
Redefining Immigration
Racism and the Immigration Debate
Free Trade vs. Fair Trade
Migrant Farm Workers and the Cost of Groceries
What Does a New Leader for Cuba Mean for America?
High Tech Worker Visas and American Unemployment
What's Wrong With Our Current Immigration System?
How Will The Upcoming Election Impact Immigration Policy?
National ID Cards for American Citizens
American Children of Undocumented Immigrants
Globalization and Immigration
Human Rights and Immigration Policy
Archives by Date

A Legal Immigrant’s Perspective

If you are not a Native American, you are an immigrant, so am I. I came legally to this country at the age of five with my parents who worked hard, paid taxes (even Jesus paid taxes), lived by the rules of this great nation and never took or accepted a penny from the government. We came seeking FREEDOM from a communist country. It was months before we were able to enter the US legally. I remember us getting medical exams, shots (small pox), background check, references, and going through numerous interviews once we arrived. I also remembered people coming to the US from all over the world who waited years since it was based on "Quotas". Read more...

Solving Our Immigration Problem

The major problem our country is facing with illegal immigrants today is because of the exploitation of these immigrants. We believe the solution to this problem is two-fold. First, we should allow more immigrants in this country to cut down on the number of illegal ones. Second, all immigrants should be educated about their rights at the expense of the government. Below, you will find an in-depth look at our suggested reforms.

Reforms for immigration limitations:

-New immigrants can't equal more than 1% of the US population in a given year (the population being from the last recorded census). That 1% will be further divided up to allow only a certain number of immigrants each month.
-Each country of origin for immigrants will be allowed a certain percentage of that 1%. No country could receive more than 10% of the total amount and no country can receive less than .1% of it. The left over percentage will be divided up between all countries as follows: Read more...

Do Elements Within the La Raza Movement Pose a Threat to America?

La Raza means literally “The Race” in Spanish. The movement was formed in 1968 to promote the interests of the Mexican-American community. Like the NAACP and other affirmative-action minded organizations, La Raza has many members that are interested in being part of America and promoting equality for all Americans. The fundamental goals as stated by the movement are benign and represent the ideals of American diversity and cultural pride.

There is another movement affiliated with La Raza that has historically been more militant and still maintains documents within their organization that point to isolationistic views Read More

A Plan

The one major thing that seems to be lacking in the immigration debate is a real plan that addresses the legitimate concerns with illegal immigration. There are strong opinions on both sides and a lot of rhetoric but there isn’t really any solid plan being promoted to address the illegal immigration issue in a way that is both fair and logical.

So, that being said here is my idea:Read More

Trucking Cross Borders

This is mainly a concern for the trucking business. If we allow these people to come into our country, bringing cargo that we in America have, and can supply, then we are saying that the American working people are not needed, and have lost all say to legally enforced DOT (Department of Transportation) laws.Read More



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