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Sunday, December 18, 2011

It is not racism it is despotism

While wandering the internet from one article to another I came across discussion of the NYC police tactics for cracking down on crime.
They have a stop and frisk policy for groups they have determined have a high potential for crime. This is not racism. Statistics prove that brown skinned people in NYC commit more crime. The NYC police department is something like 40% people of color. The people commenting on the stories keep going on about racism and they can't understand how black cops can profile black people.
This is because once again we are arguing the wrong argument.
The reasons people of color commit/and/or convicted of more crime is one topic of discussion. Racism may be an issue but what if you just take race emotions out of the question. What if the stats showed that middle aged white guys were doing crimes and so the cops started a program of  stopping and aggressively frisking them. Well they would do something about it because it is offensive to them to have a gun put up to their head. So now people are fed up with being stopped and frisked when they have done nothing wrong other than to fit a particular profile.
The real issue is if stopping and frisking people with no reasonable suspicion of a crime is a violation of 1. Basic Human Rights, 2. The US constitution, 3. Counter productive to crime prevention.
As usual the clever folks have no clue. Treating groups of people as criminals, or treating everyone as a criminal puts your personal identification with criminals and against law enforcement. It is the police state concept and it never ends well.
Mostly, it never ends well for us ordinary folks...
To counter my own argument you may ask about racial profiling in airports of people who look like they fit the profile of an exploding terrorist.
To that question I have to admit some uncertainty. I think part of the problem with the NYPD is the randomness and the violence of the search. They are not polite, quick, and efficient and they do not explain themselves. I suspect a program designed to work with the community instead of against the community would be a better plan. However, it is harder to see what works than what doesn't work.
With the exploding terrorist profile I have to say that some specific targeting as in before boarding an airplane has to be tolerated. However, it must be done quickly and politely and effectively. No rudeness, no grannies strip searched, children should not be felt up.
It can be done. I flew into Germany after a terrorist bombing and they were searching everybody and everything. They were fast and polite and there was a soldier with a submachine gun in the corner and he looked like he meant business. I was kind of amazed by how well it worked there and how badly it seems to work in the USA.
Of course they were doing it to actually find bombs and the US is doing as some sort of strange psychological warfare that no one really understands.
Or incompetence...


  1. I understand where you are coming from. However, I cannot agree with you on this premise. My own personal experience with racial profiling won't allow me to exclude racism as a factor.

    When my oldest son was a teenager he was arrested for dealing crack cocaine. A charge that was totally false. He was approached at a bus stop along with three other Black males by a Columbus police officer. They had to produce identification for a routine 50 check. No one had any outstanding warrants and that should of been the end of their encounter. My son was ordered into a cruiser due to questions about the spelling of his middle name. He was moved six blocks from that stop, held in the back of the cruiser for an hour. He was taken to the juvenile detention center with the understanding that his parents would need to come and verify his idenity. We were contacted and told he was being held for dealing crack. A charge that we knew was totally false.

    When we went to the arrainment hearing it was obvious from the moment we stepped into the facility that it was going to be a major fight to clear our child's name. The court does not inform people that you have to have an attorney present at this type of hearing. We made too much money to receive a public defender. I raised so much hell about not being informed that an attorney was appointed to him by the court. This woman was the right person to handle his case.

    The district attorney offered my son a deal that would of had him locked up for two years on the charges. There was no crack found on his person. The officer stated that he picked up pieces of paper off of the ground and had the mobile crime unit test it and it was positive for crack cocaine. He never saw my son discard the paper during their initial contact. He also violated his rights by moving him from that stop. Unless an officer's physical well-being is in question, they have to remain on the scene of a crime. My son was moved without any true justification. This cop was running up quite an arrest record. He was averaging at least 5 Black males on a daily basis on the same charge. I have a realtive who works in law enforcement and he questioned that immediatley. He works at a detective in this line of enforcement.

    They tried to force us to take the deal and we resisted. The court did an extensive background check and found out that my son attended private school, played varsity sports and he was making good grades. We also failed to meet the stereotypical profile of Black parents. We both are well educated and we were both employed. My husband was informed by attorneys who worked out of his office that our son fit the profile. That was the primary gist of their case. Even his probation officer told us to fight back because he believed this to be true.

    It took us three months to get the charges dropped. My son's attorney went after the cop full blast. We started the process of filing formal charges against him. The D.A. tried to offer us a year, then six months before dropping all of the charges. The majestrate that handled the case made him apologize to us in court for putting us through the ordeal.

    You need to dig deeper into this topic. You will find that young men who have no records or warrants have been brutalized and murdered during a routine profile stop. The NYPD is one of the leading perps in this type of killing.

    You also need to be aware of the fact that Black cops are often under a lot of pressure to prove that they are not showing favoritism to people of the community. Some of these officers are truly dangerous because they use extreme force to gain that reputation of being true blue.

    I do not think that your premise is incorrect. I just cannot accept it based on reality.

  2. Ms Lady D- Thanks for your comments. I think it is another case of having the wrong argument. I am not sure I am smart or clever enough to phrase this correctly.
    Take your son for example.
    Think of it this way for a second, Your son was targeted, (hated if you will) because he fit the profile.
    We focus on the race but could the real issue be the "us vs them" attitude of government agencies?
    If you look at it that way then black folks and white folks are united against the machine of oppression. If you look at it as race then the white guy who gets beat up for being in the wrong neighborhood or "looking wrong" has nothing in common with the black kid who gets beat up for being in the wrong neighborhood.
    It is all about power and control.
    And it is about DA's getting a high conviction record.
    If you are a poor white guy you are also screwed. I've seen it happen time and time again. Most of the time they are guilty of "something." And if you are a Mexican... My former employee had to take off his shirt to show a lack of gang tattoo's late one night just down the road from our house. Of course he had bought this almost new Lincoln which had been in a accident and the air ride suspension blew out and it was riding two inches above the ground... Actually the vice grip I used to clamp the airline so the air ride suspension would work fell off and so the suspension collapsed-making him Fit The Profile...
    But, I digress....
    Just another perhaps more helpful way of looking at a problem?

  3. the both of you, without knowing it, are presenting the same argument in different terms. here is a solid case of the difference between the concept of individualism and the concept of collectivism.

    psychology as well as logic declares that personal experiences are not a valid argument.and that is the basis of both of your arguments, Deb with her son and Buddeshepherd with his employee.

    more important is the fact the logic demands that we eliminate any and every other possibility of cause before making accusations of any kind. otherwise we will make accusations based upon personal feelings and association rather than on logic.

    the big problem here is the fact that in collectivism an individual is guilty of an accusation until proven innocent simply by association. and that is normal police procedure. the whole process of any type of investigation is to eliminate the innocent until you only have one left, the guilty one.

  4. I see the problem as not that of profiling, but of improper action and training by the police. Deborah's son should not have been detained more than a couple of minutes. This isn't really comparable, but I was pulled over late one night driving an employee home by cops who claimed we met the profile of some people who had robbed a local business. Pure BS, as I probably had the only 1950's IH stepside pickup truck in Tampa Fl. After checking my ID they let us go.

  5. Griper, what you said... And there will always be that conflict between the individual and the collective and compromises are always made.
    Which leads us to MuddyValley's comment which deals with police training. The whole school of thought that teaches cops to be confrontational in order to provoke tension which leads to an arrest which can be prosecuted is really bad policy. It teaches us to hate the cops.

    I think calling it "racial" profiling and putting it down as racism then puts the argument into a struggle between the oppressed class and the soon to be oppressed class not between oppressed and oppressor. And so we are used against each other and stereotypes are reinforced and money is made and influence is sold and the cycle continues.
    So Muddy being stopped and Deborah's son being stopped and my former helper being stopped are all the same thing. Different standards of treatment may or may not denote racism. My helper was not beat up or miss-treated. In fact the sheriff noted his address and that he was almost home and took into account his employment. So, who knows?

  6. the problem lies in the idea of profiling and the perception of it. people view it in terms of class when it is actually a means to identify an individual. and whether we like it or not, race is always the first identifier, then age. gender usually only comes into play in cases of female participation. it all goes back to the idea of elimination as i proposed before.
    and the culprit of the idea behind profiling is not the police dept. it is Sociology and psychology that began it. that is how Sociology divides a society up into smaller collectives for studying societies.

  7. Griper: You've hit the nail on the head!
    Don't get me started on Sociology and psychology.
    A bunch of "I'm screwed up too, therefore I feel your pain" people. "Lets put a name on it & do a survey to prove our points."

  8. The bottom line is that racial profiling is perfectly logical as a tool for law enforcement. Young people are hasseled because they cause more trouble than older people. Young black males are hasseled because they commit more crimes than any other segment of society (percentage-wise), and Mexicans are hasseled because so many are drug-dealing illegals. The problem is not with racial profiling; it's with over-zealous cops who don't know where to draw the line, yet are allowed to continue working as cops.

  9. i would not use the term "racial profiling" to describe the method used. "profiling" alone would better describe it in recognition that race is the first factor to be ascertained in police work.

    by describing it as simply "profiling" we can see that it has application outside of police work. one place where it is used also is in the hiring of employees. the factors used in that profile are different but it is still profiling a specific individual.

    we, as individuals, use profiling all the time to describe the people we prefer to associate with.

    anytime we want to ascertain a certain collective of people, we need to create a profile to determine who are members of that collective.

    in other words, profiling is just a generalized means we use to describe an individual or a collective. once it becomes specific there is no need for a profile.

    as for "hassling" we must remember that the innocent are usually who we think of when we use that term. i have never heard it used in regards to the guilty. unfortunately though, innocent persons fit that same type of profile too.

  10. The major problem is the "hassling." Hassling is a bully tool. If you were going to have a stop and frisk policy you should be polite and not use demeaning words or actions or anything but the right amount of force needed should the person turn out to be a suspect. The job of the police is not to rough people up to teach them "respect." I don't think it really works in the long run.
    I think the problem is really misguided training and core attitudes by those in charge.

  11. Bear in mind that the "polite" cops involved in checking out a suspect, profiled or not, don't make the news. I suspect that there are a lot more of them than there are bad cops. The bullys can't be trained to be polite. They need to be convinced that they should be in another line of work. But I don't have any idea what would be a good job for them.


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