A friend shared a recent Vice article/video, Driving While Black, which talks about a new report from Seton Hall Law School Center for Policy & Research which found that in the majority-white municipality of Bloomfield, NJ, nearly 80% of traffic tickets are issued to African American and Latino drivers. The report also found that most tickets were issued to non-resident minority drivers passing through town, suggesting a “de facto border patrol” policing policy is in effect.
It’s a story POC from across the country know all too well, as shown through the various comments made when my friend shared the link.
“Miles Davis was pulled over 33 times for driving while black. Once it was pulling out of his own driveway in his new sports car. People who pretend racial profiling doesn’t exist have never suffered once through the indignity of it, or they’d know better.”
“And people wonder why I hate driving, find it incredibly stressful, and choose NOT to drive. I have a horror story of my mother and sister being pulled over in Mississippi while driving a new car cross country from LA to Tampa, jailed overnight, and asked many demeaning questions all as the police were “investigating” if the car actually belonged to my mother.”
“I was surrounded by multiple police with guns actually drawn for driving a Jaguar in a very white town in Massachusetts some years ago. Arrested, roughed up and spent the night in jail, too.”
“I had literally been sitting at a red light for about 20 seconds when they pulled up behind me, put on the flashers, jumped out and into me. It was like they had been waiting for me.”
I recently saw an Anonymous on-line troll say “How about people stop acting like the stereotypes that are being profiled? I don’t give law enforcement any reason to profile or classify me.” Apparently, some people don’t know what racial profiling is.
As stated on CivilRights.org, “‘racial profiling’ refers to the targeting of particular individuals by law enforcement authorities based not on their behavior, but rather their personal characteristics. It is generally used to encompass more than simply an individual’s race. [It] encompasses race, ethnicity, national origin, and religion—and means the impermissible use by law enforcement authorities of these personal characteristics, to any degree, in determining which individuals to stop, detain, question, or subject to other law enforcement activities.”
Seems pretty clear, to me, that racial profiling is unacceptable and a big problem in this country.