Naomi Murakawa of the Princeton African American Studies faculty explains why the new guidelines are no different than those that already exist. In a nutshell, the burden of proof sits with the victim to prove there is racism in the mind of the perpetrator, in this case, federal law enforcement including airport screeners and the Immigration border patrol agents. Why is this absurd? A perp can be coached to say all the right things. A perp can be “justified” based on statistics – if a neighborhood has a lot of crime reports – based on stops and curfews in communities that themselves are based on profiling. Here’s are MY examples (NOT Professor Murakawa’s examples) of how this fails:
In a lily white community where income is twice that of surrounding communities, policing is conducted much, much more “politely”. Why? Because people with money can afford good lawyers who will extract millions of dollars in damages from that community’s local government. There might be just as many burglaries committed by white people, just as many domestic violence cases, just as many driving while under the influence cases, just as many drug dealers. The difference? There are less convictions, more humane interventions, less publicity in rich communities. Why? It bears repeating: Because they can afford and WILL hire better lawyers who will focus on getting reparations for rich people, aka lawsuits for 7-figure settlements. So what will you find in those stats? Less reports of crime in rich communities. Cops will stop and warn, rather than stop, frisk and shoot.
Where will those stats that federal law enforcement agencies direct those law enforcement officers? To the same places they are concentrated now: to poor communities of people of color.
Also included in the ‘new’ federal guidelines: Profiling by nationality is fine. Why is this absurd, when the point is to catch undocumented immigrants and terrorists? Because to date, nationality is not the sole factor in undocumented immigration and terrorism. Again, why? Because, trust this, European undocumented immigrants are not reflected accurately in stats because, yet again, they are not RACIALLY profiled, as African immigrants are, as Arab immigrants are, as Latino and Asian immigrants are. Sames goes for terrorism. The stats quoted by Professor Murakawa will make your jaw drop! The forced registration of over 80,000 men from predominantly Muslim countries yielded ZERO associated with terrorism.
To summarize, the new guidelines say it’s fine to profile based on prior institutionalized profiling. The only law enforcement officials who can be brought up on charges are those stupidly declaring their racist beliefs in public and in social media. The guidelines actually coach racists on how to justify their inherent biases.