Saturday, June 5, 2010

Why we need racial profiling

Critics against the Arizona immigration law (SB1070) overall have a couple of points that they make condeming it. One is that legal residents of Arizona, at least the brown ones (or as one blogger puts it "Indigenous red-brown peoples) will be treated the same as the Nazi's treated the Jews ("papers, please"). The other is that this law will lead to racial profiling. Wikipedia's definition of racial profiling is "use by law enforcement personnel of an individual’s race or ethnicity as a factor in articulating reasonable suspicion to stop, question or arrest an individual, unless race or ethnicity is part of an identifying description of a specific suspect for a specific crime." (

Arizona and other states are running over with Hispanic illegal aliens, not Swedes. If they were looking for illegal Swedes, the mid-west blonde-hair-blue-eyed-children-of-the-corn might be targeted if they came to Arizona. But let's face it, Arizona isn't looking for Aryans. Arizona is looking for illegal Hispanics, the best way to find illegal Hispanics is to question suspicious-looking Hispanics. Now, what is "suspicious-looking"? How about no form of ID? If you were in an accident, and the other driver was Hispanic, didn't speak English very well (or not at all), and had no drivers licenses, no insurance, etc. You would immediately peg him as illegal. That's racial profiling! If the other driver was a 20 year old white redneck, in no way would you suspect him of being in the country illegally.

Does anyone think this is wrong? If the other driver turned out to be legal, but lost his wallet at the laundromat  yesterday, you wouldn't consider yourself racist for thinking he was illegal (at least I wouldn't). The term for that is "Prejudiced". Wikipedia defines it as "... a prejudgment: i.e. a preconceived belief, opinion, or judgment made without ascertaining the facts of a case."  We pre-judge all the time. The stocky short haired woman in the Khakis and Birkenstocks is a Lez.,  The banker with a big nose is a Jew, The fat black woman with 6 kids is on welfare, and her children are from 6 different "babydaddies", the Indian customer service rep really isn't named "Bob", the lawyer is a crook, etc. Pre-judging is natural, sometimes wrong, but not racist.

Finding and deporting illegal Hispanics will require law enforcement to look for Hispanics.

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