Friday, April 26, 2013

Indignity in Racial Profiling

          During the initial search for the culprits of the Boston Marathon bombings, there were many racist assumptions concerning who they were.  As Alex and others mentioned, I think a majority of reasonable, level-headed people were hoping that the criminals were not Middle Eastern or Muslim.  Before the two brothers were caught, however, the negative stereotypes and racial profiling surrounding people of Islam and/or Middle Eastern descent disrupted the life of a twenty-year old Saudi Arabian man.  He was initially a victim of the blast, but quickly became a suspect.  Police questioned him as to why he was running away after the first blast and the man replied that he thought "there would be a second bomb—as there was, and often is, to target responders."  If a white man had used common sense to run away from bomb, it would have been accepted without further questioning. Instead, this man was broadcasted over social media sites and national news networks labeling him as a suspect.  His apartment was torn apart by police in front of his neighbors. Racial profiling causes assumptions which lead to rash actions, as seen in the case of this innocent Saudi Arabian man. Even though he has been cleared, his neighbors and friends are sure to look at him differently now. He cannot regain the respect and dignity that this racism took away from him. 
As seen in the article “The Good, Racist People,” Forest Whitaker was also a victim of racial profiling.  He was accused of stealing in a local Manhattan Deli and subsequently frisked by an employee.  This humiliating act is another example of the rash actions people take in response to racial profiling.  While Whitaker was also proved innocent of the crime, that does not erase the disrespect he received.  If he had not been famous,  I think Whitaker would have left the store still being thought of as a criminal despite proving his innocence.  
Actions speak louder than words.  If you treat someone in a manner that is in response to racial profiling then simply stating you made a mistake will not undo the actions that you made.  It stays with that person and others that witnessed the injustice, and if the latter is closed-minded, then they will continue to treat the victim in the same negative way. Do you think simply apologizing for an error in judgment is enough? Or must something else be done, and if so, what could that be?


  1. While I wish that more could be done to receive justice out of these racially-profiled accusations, I do not believe there is. It's awful that we live in a society that jumps to conclusions simply because of people's race. Fear of something different is what spurs such comments and actions against non-whites. Whites' fear of blacks' is centuries old; it is time to move on from believing that blacks, or people of any ethnicity other than white, are "brutes, apes, and terrorists." There are too many other issues of concern to be fearing another man's skin color and the connotations behind it. I think that apologies are a good start to repairing the situation, but after that, I do not have a solution. Individuals who want to believe the negative things about non-whites will not make an effort to change themselves.

  2. As a response to the above, the article "the good. racist people" questions this mentality. Coates argues that racism and prejudice isnt the overt thing we like to think of it as. It is far deeper and for more sub-conscience. He calls the deli owner a good man but quesitons how he can be a good man and still racially profile as he did.
    I agredd that this acts shouldnt be tolerated and apologizing is a great start. This issue is that these ideas too engrained in our society. like the embarassed deli owner he knows what he did was wrong and seems to have acted in the moment. i agree though that there is no clear answer to this problembut we should continue to look down on such racial profiling.