Williams: there is no way to avoid racial profiling of blacks

(Note: Peter H. picked out an extraordinarily significant sentence of Williams’s about the importance of race which I missed.)

Paul Nachman sends this Walter Williams column which deals frankly with black criminality and, perhaps more importantly, with the black community’s very high tolerance of black criminality:


Right now, there isn’t enough known about the circumstances surrounding the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, a black, by George Zimmerman, a 28-year-old part-Hispanic, during his neighborhood watch tour in an Orlando, Fla., suburb. If evidence emerges that Zimmerman’s actions were not justified, he should be prosecuted and punished; however, there’s a larger issue that few people understand or have the courage to acknowledge, namely that black and young has become synonymous with crime and, hence, suspicion. To make that connection does not make one a racist. Let’s look at it.

Twelve years ago, a black Washington, D.C., commissioner warned cabbies, most of whom were black, against picking up dangerous-looking passengers. She described “dangerous-looking” as a “young black guy … with shirttail hanging down longer than his coat, baggy pants, unlaced tennis shoes.” She also warned cabbies to stay away from low-income black neighborhoods. Did that make the D.C. commissioner a racist?

In some cities, such as St. Louis, black pizza deliverers have complained about having to deliver pizzas to certain black neighborhoods, including neighborhoods in which they live. Are they racists? The Rev. Jesse Jackson once remarked, “There is nothing more painful for me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery -(and) then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved.” Does that make the reverend a racist?

The former Charleston, S.C., black chief of police, Reuben Greenberg, said the problem facing black America is not racial profiling. He said, “The greatest problem in the black community is the tolerance for high levels of criminality.” Former Los Angeles black police Chief Bernard Parks, defending racial profiling, said: “It’s not the fault of the police when they stop minority males or put them in jail. It’s the fault of the minority males for committing the crime. In my mind, it is not a great revelation that if officers are looking for criminal activity, they’re going to look at the kind of people who are listed on crime reports.” Are former police Chiefs Greenberg and Parks racist?

According to the Uniform Crime Report for 2009, among people 18 or younger, blacks were charged with 58 percent of murder and non-negligent manslaughter, 67 percent of robberies, 42 percent of aggravated assaults and 43 percent of auto thefts. As for murder, more than 90 percent of the time, their victims were black. These statistics, showing a strong interconnection among race, youth and crime, are a far better explanation for racial profiling and suspicion than simple racism.

Black Americans have spoken out against racial profiling by police. They’ve been insulted by store personnel who might give them extra scrutiny. There’s the insult of the sound of a car door being locked when a black approaches. It’s insulting to have taxi drivers pass up a black person and pick up white people down the street. In a similar vein, I’m sure that a law-abiding Muslim is insulted when given extra scrutiny at airports or listening to Fox News reporter Juan Williams, who was fired by National Public Radio in 2010 for publicly saying that he gets nervous when he sees people on a plane with clothing that identifies them as Muslim. Blacks and Muslims who face the insults of being profiled might direct their anger toward those who’ve made blacks and crime synonymous and terrorism and Muslims synonymous.

God would never racially profile, because he knows everything, including who is a criminal or terrorist. We humans are not gods; therefore, we must often base our decisions on guesses and hunches. It turns out that easily observed physical characteristics, such as race, are highly interconnected with other characteristics less easily observed.

For most blacks to own up to the high crime rate among blacks is a source of considerable discomfort. Beyond that, it creates suspicions and resentment, which are destructive of good race relations, and it’s devastating to the black community, which is its primary victim.

- end of initial entry -

Peter H. writes:

Williams says: “It turns out that easily observed physical characteristics, such as race, are highly interconnected with other characteristics less easily observed.”

Wow! To understand and internalize this observation is the first and essential step by which dangerous misconceptions about race all begin to fall away. Now, if our society began to understand this profound reality, and that it applies not just to criminality, but to intelligence, industriousness, etc., and not just to blacks, but to non-whites in general, I think we would be on the road to recovery as a people.

Steve N. writes:

Here is an idea I have been batting around in my head for a while regarding the perceived inequities of racial profiling and especially the much maligned but very effective NYPD stop and frisk policy.

The best fix: Profile, stop, and frisk more whites and Asians. As a white, I can attest that I bear no animus to the police and always politely comply with their instructions. I am glad they are there and am glad they are doing their jobs. I, for one, would happily volunteer to be occasionally stopped for no apparent reason and/or frisked simply to raise the statistics for whites stopped. Since I would not be committing a crime, nor have plans to commit a crime, nor be carrying any illegal weapons or contraband, I would not mind occasionally being subjected to this treatment, assuming that so doing would help give political cover to various police agencies to continue in this obviously effective practice.

What I would propose is for white and Asian males to agree upon some signal which could be interpreted (by witting police officers) as “I am a white/Asian male who doesn’t mind being stopped and frisked.” Perhaps this could an inside-out T-shirt or U.S. Flag label pin or just something otherwise relatively rare in the general white and Asian male population. This could, at least to some extent, equalize the racial disparities, otherwise inherent to this practice, so often cited by professional race hustlers and their leftist enablers—and do so hopefully without significantly hurting the effectiveness of such policies when directed against populations more likely to be lawless. Imagine a NYPD spokesman pointing to statistics and saying something like, “Rev. [Insert race hustler] is simply incorrect. Stop and frisks are up 23 percent among whites and 17 percent among Asians over the past year. Black and Hispanic rates are down four percent and six percent respectively.”

So what do you think?

LA replies:

That’s really funny. I’m laughing as I read it. And in a way, it’s what’s already being done in airports, right?

But, seriously, I don’t think it could work. The police have a serious job to do. For them to consume so much of their time in going through a dog-and-pony show for the purposes of compiling token stop and searches, just for statistics, would significantly impede them in their work. I see your idea as satirical, bringing out how ridiculous is the black denunciation of the stop and search policy and how society would have to spend the rest of eternity hopping around on one foot to satisfy black demands.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at March 28, 2012 12:01 PM | Send

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