19
May
09

Racial Profiling – Action Required

racial_profiling

icon_digg A number of social issues presented in both the Primary’s and General Election have been reviewed by our current Obama Administration; with some being overturned by the administration while others have been set aside and left as is.

One issue addressed recently by Attorney General Eric Holder and Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), during Holder’s Confirmation Hearing, was that of “Racial Profiling”, which is a centralized issue I strongly disagree with and was condoned by, adhered to and practiced under the Bush White House approval and implemented throughout the Department of Justice.

We as Americans know it has existed for some time and have either seen it practiced or read about profiling during sometime in our lives.  We see it in local law enforcement agencies (traffic checks) to unwarranted data mining searches by our federal government.

As previously stated I disagree with this policy of categorizing groups of society by placing emphasis on associations or beliefs.  It was encouraging last fall to read a News Brief by the ACLU, entitled “Holder’s Statement Marks Clean Break With Bush Administration”, which in part:

In October, the American Civil Liberties Union expressed concern over controversial changes made to FBI internal guidelines governing investigations that allow agents to use intrusive measures without evidence of wrongdoing. These changes, which went into effect in December, opened the door to racial profiling. In fact, FBI agents are now able to use these same intrusive techniques to investigate potential participants in public demonstrations.

The following can be attributed to Mike German, ACLU Policy Counsel and former FBI agent:

“Attorney General Holder’s statement set a new tone that racial profiling is unacceptable in all situations. The Bush administration had lowered the bar by allowing the use of race and religion as factors in national security and border integrity investigations. Holder sent a clear signal today that the FBI guidelines for investigations need to be redrafted. It makes no sense to use an ineffective law enforcement tool in our most important investigations.”

The following can be attributed to Jennifer Bellamy, ACLU Legislative Counsel:

“Attorney General Holder’s remarks on racial profiling should shut the door on the Bush administration’s use of race and ethnicity in the name of homeland security. Now it is time for Congress to follow the example of the top law enforcement officer and pass the End Racial Profiling Act.”

An excellent article, again by the ACLU, well worth reviewing is entitled “2004 DHS Program Used Racial And Ethnic Profiling” where the following is stated:

In 2001, President Bush declared that racial profiling was “wrong” and that he would “end it in America.”In 2002, Attorney General John Ashcroft said, “Using race… as a proxy for potential criminal behavior is unconstitutional, and it undermines law enforcement by undermining the confidence that people can have in law enforcement,” and his Justice Department banned racial profiling by federal law enforcement in 2003. That ban, however, came with an exemption for national security investigations. Today’s New York Times article shows how DHS drove a truck through that loophole just one year later.

“Despite President Bush’s vow to end racial profiling, his administration embraced it,” said Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “This program confirms that racial and ethnic profiling are not only wrong, but they don’t work. The time and resources spent by DHS rounding up, interrogating and investigating innocent American immigrants could have been spent dealing with actual threats to our country.”

Again, recently, we have seen campaign commitments reviewed and some recanted, I sincerely hope both our President and Attorney General will hold true to their promises of eliminating the usage of racial profiling.

Additional articles on Profiling:

Online News Service: Racism in Journalism

Talk – King Downing – Why Racial Profiling Cannot Work

Talk by King Downing National Coordinator of the ACLU’s Campaign Against Racial Profiling on “Profiles in Injustice: Why Racial Profiling Cannot Work”

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