Category Archives: Racial Profiling

Racism

Growing up half Chinese and half white, raised by a mother who is white and father Chinese, made the world look at me and my sister as full Chinese. My parents did not raise us as a strictly Chinese family, nor did we practice many Chinese traditions. I was raised in Lansing, Michigan my whole life, which explains why I see myself as culturally white compared to what other people see, which is my race. This exemplifies stereotypical racial profiling, which in itself is a form of racism, which allows myself and others to be clumped together as a race instead of how we self identify.  As defined Anup Shah,“Racism is the belief that characteristics and abilities can be attributes to people simply on the basis of the race and that some racial groups are superior than others” (Globalization and Racism). How does this effect the world socially and ethnically?

According to a Vox education article,  a new lawsuit alleges Harvard has a quota system for Asian students. Author Libby Nelson states, “Asian-American students make up a higher proportion of the student body at selective colleges than they do the population as a whole. But they are also rejected at higher rates than white students, and those admitted tend to have higher test scores than students of other races.”(4) It’s not like this hasn’t happened in the past.   According to the New York Times, controversy between the Ivy League Colleges and minority communities are nothing new.   Statistics indicate an Ivy League  Quota system was used in the past, (1)“Just as their predecessors of the 1920s always denied the existence of Jewish quotas,” top officials at Harvard, Yale, Princeton and the other Ivy League schools today strongly deny the existence of “Asian quotas.” But there exists powerful statistical evidence to the contrary.

Each year, American universities provide their racial enrollment data to the Nation Center of Education Statistics, which makes this information available online. After the Justice Department closed an investigation in the early 1990s into charges that Harvard University discriminated against Asian-American applicants, Harvard’s reported enrollment of Asian-Americans began gradually declining, falling from 20.6 percent in 1993 to about 16.5 percent over most of the last decade.

This relates to me because people see me as more Asian than Caucasian even though I see myself more culturally American. It effects me because many people think Asians are supposed to be one way or another and that’s simply not true. People who are exposed to different cultures and types of people would know this better then people who are not. In addition to this, my parents are not typically driven by culture or Asian traditions, instead culture in our family is freely expressed by individual family members.

— Kalisyn

Works Cited:

1.Ron Unz, “http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2012/12/19/fears-of-an- asian-quota-in-the-ivy-league/statistics-indicate-an-ivy-league-asian-quota” Dec. 13 2013, New York Times, Nov 28 2014

2. Anup Shah “http://www.globalissues.org/article/165/racism#GlobalizationandRacism” Aug 08 2010, Global Issues, Nov 26 2014

3.Libby Nelson “http://www.vox.com/2014/11/20/7254903/harvard-affirmative-action- asians” Nov 20 2014, Vox, Nov 20 2014

Kristen A Goss http://www.thecrimson.com/article/1985/1/16/college-clears-up-asian- controversy-pharvard/ Jan 16 1985, The Harvard Crimson, Nov 28th 2014

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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

Race

Knowledge Is Power

clip_image001Race may always be an issue within society. In The United States, it has always seemed to be a prevalent part of the cultural make-up, as well as media focus. From the early days of slavery to today’s racial stereotypes and profiling, race seems to play a large role in political and social issues.

I, being of mixed-race, have seen the world in black and white for the most part (no pun intended). I always saw those who judged my parents for being together as being stupid and bad. However, recently I came to realize that there is more to racial profiling than just bad people assuming bad things about others based on their ethnic background. Yes, arrogance and naiveté are for the most part what causes negative stigmas for races, but there is more at play than good versus evil here.

clip_image004The key to why arrogance causes many people to judge race resides in one’s education. From what I personally have witnessed, the main reason why people judge is not found naturally in them. They didn’t wake up one afternoon and say, “You know what? Black people are ruining this great country!” I have noticed that it is, most of the time, integrated in their upbringing. Some people may have grown up believing that other races derive from lower social classes or inferior societies.

For example, my uncle is a fairly conservative man. He drives an eighteen-wheeler for a living and in his experience he has met many people. I have heard a multitude of humorous tales from him and his trucking adventures (most I believe are fiction). But from time to time I hear some quite edgy opinions of his. While at dinner with my family one weekend, he told a story of how a newer truck driver was unsure about how to do a certain job related task. I cannot recall the exact details or even the premise of my uncle’s story, but I do remember that it was humorous. Yet, I was a little disturbed by my uncle’s comment in the middle of the tale, “No offense Mac,” he prefaced, “but mind you, this was a colored boy…” And then the story continued to the point.

clip_image005I suppose I wasn’t offended much, but I was confused. First of all, in what way was this comment relevant to the focus of the story? And secondly, colored is still an adjective for black people? I suppose I wasn’t there for that memo. But back on track, I know he truly meant it when he said no offense, I don’t believe my uncle to be a racist, he may be a tad judgmental though. I do realize that my uncle was hinting that somehow the trucker’s race had a role in his inability to perform this particular task.

Now to the point, what was the underlying factor to this stereotype? I wouldn’t put my finger on racism, mainly because my uncle respects me and my black dad, but I would guess a bit of ignorance was peaking it’s head in on this situation (of course no offense to my uncle). It is really nobody’s fault in most cases that they are unaware of the power behind their unintentional profiling.

This is where the solution comes into the picture. Rather than me, or anyone caught in this awkward situation for that matter, jumping down a person’s throat or using an “I am higher than thou” prerogative to put down a person caught in ignorance’s grasp, I can simply inquire about how what they said was a bit touchy for many people today. This is what can change the way many people view their actions. Education is the key to understanding, and understanding is the key to equality and additionally the key to ending the progression of minor and major racism. With this we can keep racial profiling and stereotypes a piece of our nation’s, and hopefully the world’s, history, rather than a piece of days to come.

clip_image007— Mac