Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post is sorta, almost, really seriously maybe against racial profiling…but for sure in New York.
In his column about Nanny Bloomberg’s “stop and frisk” program, he writes:
For all who believe in colorblind justice — and want to see fewer African-American and Hispanic men caught up in the system — there are two items of good news: a judge’s ruling ordering changes in New York’s “stop and frisk” policy and Attorney General Eric Holder’s initiative to keep nonviolent drug offenders out of prison.
First, “stop and frisk.” Mayor Michael Bloomberg is having a hissy fit over U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin’s finding that the policy amounted to “indirect racial profiling.” On his weekly radio show, the mayor wouldn’t even say Scheindlin’s name, calling her “some woman” who knows “absolutely zero” about policing. In an op-ed article for The Washington Post, Bloomberg went so far as to accuse Scheindlin of being “ideologically driven.”
But you don’t have to read too far to see what Robinson’s real beef with the program is:
If and when Bloomberg calms down, I’d like to ask him the fundamental question posed — not in these words, of course — by Scheindlin’s ruling: Would it kill you to stop and frisk some white guys, too?
Blacks and Hispanics make up about half of New York City’s population but were targeted in 86 percent of the 532,911 “stops” last year under Bloomberg’s policy, which encourages police to detain and search individuals if there is “reasonable suspicion” that the person “committed, is committing, or is about to commit” a crime. The reason most often cited for a stop is that the individual made “furtive” movements.
In nine out of 10 cases, the person is stopped — and sometimes frisked — but no evidence is found of any offense. Bloomberg argues that this kind of proactive policing actually prevents crime, and he credits “stop and frisk” for making New York the safest big city in the country.
I’m all for safe streets. I’m also aware that there is no consensus crediting “stop and frisk” with any impact on the crime rate, but I’m willing to accept the premise that an active police presence can deter criminals. My problem is that African-Americans and Hispanics are being singled out disproportionately for these arbitrary searches.
Blacks and Hispanics are being “singled out disproportionately for these arbitrary searches”? Even Robinson connects the dots on this but says that it doesn’t matter because, well, not enough “white guys” are getting frisked:
Bloomberg says this is because most violent crime occurs in black and Hispanic neighborhoods, with black and Hispanic victims. By all means, police should continue walking and cruising these beats. But the numbers indicate that African-Americans and Hispanics are being given too much “stop and frisk” scrutiny — and that whites are being given too little.
But this isn’t a “Bloomberg says” kind of deal. If you look at the actual statistics – like these published in this borough by borough mapping of crime for New York City by New York Magazine – you can see that Bloomberg is factually accurate – there is a correlation between the racial makeup of the location and the type and frequency of crime. You may deduce that the reasons are economic, and while that may well be true, it still does not change the fact that more crimes are committed in these areas. The police are not concerned with the socioeconomic reasons for the crimes, they are charged with the prevention of them, especially in areas where crime is more frequent and of more a danger to the public.
Let’s get this straight – if a particular area experiences a high crime rate, it is illegitimate to focus on that area unless you place the same focus on another area where crime rates are lower? Simply because the high crime area is in a minority neighborhood and the low crime area is in a non-minority neighborhood, this makes the effort racist?
This is the same idiocy that produces cries for a “proportional” military response in conflicts. In war, proportionality isn’t the benchmark for success – winning is – the same as on the streets of New York City.
So Robinson is coming out against racial profiling because he thinks that minorities are disproportionately harmed by it – even though in New York City, it has actually benefitted these minority neighborhoods through reduced criminal activity.
But the fact is that racial profiling is used to disproportionately harm non-minorities on a routine basis – and it is government sanctioned.
It is called “affirmative action”.
Race based quotas, small business set-asides and “norming” of test results in performance and admissions testing are all forms of racial profiling. One would think that Robinson would be against that scourge of liberty – but alas, that is not the case. For example, in a 2007 column critical of Justice Clarence Thomas, Robinson writes:
I believe in affirmative action, but I have to acknowledge there are arguments against it. One of the more cogent is the presence of Justice Clarence Thomas on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Then he goes on to accuse Thomas of being nothing but an “affirmative action” selection:
Back to affirmative action, which Thomas famously opposes: He was 43 and had one year of judicial experience when Bush the Elder nominated him to replace Thurgood Marshall on the court. Even Thomas can’t seriously believe Bush’s claim that he was the “most qualified” candidate.
Robinson didn’t have similar concerns about Elena Kagan when Obama nominated her to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens…and Kagan had exactly zero experience as a judge before being nominated.
Robinson exhibits the cognitive dissonance required to be a liberal these days.
Fairness for me but not for thee- because you aren’t a minority, sucka.
When it comes to disqualifying a non-minority for a job or admission to a university, whites get “stopped and frisked” far more often than minorities.
Race has become an “approved” characteristic to be used to advantage a minority over a non-minority simply by classification – to supposedly right a wrong that has been perpetrated on a class defined by skin color. I doubt that kids from a poor white family feel very equal when they get denied admission to a university because of their skin color. I doubt that a fireman or a policeman who is denied a promotion because their test score has been “normed” to allow a minority with a lower score to be promoted over them feels the “equality”.
If racial profiling is wrong when it is used to deter crime, it is equally as wrong when it is used to promote one race over another simply based on race.
Totalitarianism and tyranny are never implemented by iron law; they are introduced by capricious application of a myriad of vague and flexible laws.