Racial Profiling

I was enjoying time with my friends playing video games. Before I knew it, hours had passed by. The only reason I noticed how long I had been playing was because the phone rang and it was my mom. “Michael, where is the Hummer” asked my mom. “Parked outside my friend’s house,” I responded. “No it isn’t. It has been towed!” Apparently, while I was visiting my friend, who lived in a predominantly white neighborhood, a neighbor didn’t recognize who I was and called the police to complain about an unknown black guy who had parked his vehicle outside her home. Based upon that complaint, the police towed my mother’s legally parked car. Besides this particular incidence, I’ve been pulled over multiple times for no reason and my car has been searched for drugs without any record of any police report to support that I was ever pulled over. I have also been stopped and patted down while walking down the street to the corner store down from my house. For those that do not look like me, a young black man, it may be hard to believe that racial profiling occurs but because of what I have experienced at such a young age, I know that it does occur and it occurs more often than people think. One police officer even had the nerve to tell me, “I’ve seen you drive a Cutlass, a Camaro, a Hummer and now a Corvette, so I felt the need to pull you over.” There have been so many recent examples of needless deaths of young black men due to over excessive force of police officers and there is reason for concern.

Racial profiling is defined as the pattern of categorizing people and predicting behavior such as the probability of engaging in illegal activity based upon race or ethnicity. The American Civil Liberties Union’s website stated that racial profiling occurs every day, in cities and towns across the country and results in humiliating interrogations, searches and even police brutality leading to death.

Trayvon Martin in Florida and Michael Brown in Missouri are recent examples of controversy where some form of racial profiling may have been used to track or approach the now deceased. As a young black man, I am concerned that shooting to kill may be the first thought process instead of considering other alternatives. There are multiple videos on the internet that support police officers or those acting in the name of the law who have abused their authority. I am not saying that all police officers are bad or that all young black men are innocent but stealing should not equate to death and other forms of restraint such as tear gas, or wounding to prevent mobility could be used instead of blatantly killing.

My uncle was driving in Parma, MI and was pulled over by a state trooper because there was a domestic fight between a black man and white woman. The black guy left the house (by foot) running south. My uncle was driving in a car on the north side of Parma near the highway. So….why was he pulled over? The judge could not justify the state trooper’s reasoning either, which is why my uncle won a case of discrimination against the state trooper.

The problems we have when racial profiling occurs are that innocent individuals are labeled and targeted. Racial profiling isn’t constitutional or fair. No one should be pointed out of a group because of their skin tone or cultural background. Everyone should have a fair and equal opportunity to live from day to day without fear of being arrested, beat to death or killed because a cop “thought” he or she was suspicious.

The solution to ending racial profiling should start with the law leading by example and not being the primary individuals who are racial profiling. The individuals who uphold the law shouldn’t be the ones who are put above the principles of the law either. Every individual should be held accountable for their actions, no matter their position in society or what occupation they hold. Anytime something suspect occurs, authority should investigate and execute through a fair trial.

How would you feel if you were in the store with the intent to find an item that you needed and the store owner or worker was suspiciously watching your every move or attempted to secretly follow you as you made your way through the store?   Would you feel like you needed to support their business by spending your hard earned money there? Personally, I would leave the store and not patronize the store anymore. I would likely share my unpleasant experience with others as well. The same should occur with situations of racial profiling. People need to speak out and band together to hold these authority figures accountable for illegally labeling young black men or anyone for that matter. People must continue to demand that anytime this happens something be done and ultimately, even if man fails to bring resolution, justice will prevail in God’s eyes.

Below are several links to videos that identify evidence of racial profiling and police

brutality:

Racial profiling experiment

Shopping while black in Alabama

Racial profiling of black driver

Police officer beat wheelchair bound person

Cop tells driver, “you’re black.”

How did you feel as you watched the videos? Do you believe that the police were in the wrong? Do you think that the “victim” could have handled the situation better and/or prevent what happened to them?

Below is a link to a video that expresses how fed up with the injustice of racial profiling and police brutality people are. The lyrics are a little pungent but it thoroughly outlines the frustration of how mothers, fathers, siblings, family and friends feel when they lose loved ones needlessly.  

Criminals with permission song/video

I don’t necessarily agree with everything (meaning all of the lyrics and/or use of profanity) in this song but I can feel the pain and I am truly concerned with the overall situation in the world today with racial profiling and police brutality. There is a trend especially with young black men being treated unfairly and killed without rationale.

In summary, racial profiling is real. It occurs every day and sometimes leads to police brutality. Parents of color have to make their children aware of this day-to-day situation to protect them from becoming victims. I have experienced racial profiling and I know many others who have as well. The examples of videos illustrate racial profiling as well as police brutality. I encourage all to continue to be aware and to speak up to promote that those who abuse power be punished for their actions.

— Michael

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