WHY ARIZONA SHOULD “RACIALLY PROFILE”
By Selwyn Duke
May 19, 2010
When the Times Square bombing suspect was first reported to be a “white male,” I shook my head. I knew that, despite Mayor Bloomberg’s asinine musings about how the perpetrator was probably “homegrown” and perhaps someone upset about the healthcare bill, this was nonsense. “It’s about as likely as a story about Bill Clinton becoming a monk,” I thought.
Of course, this was no great insight. Given that 99 percent of the terrorists bedeviling us today are non-white Muslims, it was just common sense — otherwise known as profiling.
The critics of Arizona’s new immigration law complain that it will lead to “racial profiling.” In response, the law’s defenders point out that the legislation specifically forbids the practice.
Both groups are wrong.
They accept two false suppositions. The first is that the practice in question is immoral.
The second is that “racial profiling” actually exists.
Generally speaking, it does not — that is, not in the sense of a phenomenon widespread enough to warrant continual media attention. In reality, there are only two kinds of profiling: good profiling and bad profiling. Let’s discuss the difference.
Profiling is simply a method by which law enforcement can determine the probability that an individual has committed a crime or has criminal intent. Now, when making this assessment, many different factors are considered. Some have to do with age, sex, dress, behavior, the car being driven, whether or not a person is “out of place” (e.g., a well-dressed fellow in a BMW cruising a drug-plagued neighborhood), and, yes, some have to do with race. But whatever the criteria, good profiling chooses them in accordance with sound criminological science. And as soon as we subordinate that standard to anything, such as political or social concerns, we have rendered it bad profiling.
We also render it unfair. That is, contrary to the notion that using racial factors in profiling is discriminatory, in the negative sense of the word, it is actually the refusal to consider them that is so.
I’ll explain. I’m a member of one of the most profiled groups in the country: males. Law enforcement views us much more suspiciously than females because we commit an inordinate amount of crime. And we aren’t the only ones, as youths also attract a jaundiced eye for the same reason. Now, if considering race when profiling is “racism,” isn’t considering sex and age “sexism” and “ageism”?
The truth is that none of these things are any kind of ism. And is it just to discriminate among higher-crime-incidence groups — scrutinizing some more closely but not others — based on whether they are in or out of favor politically and socially?
This is where the capital-D discrimination lies. If you’re male or a teen, you’re fair game. But, for instance, when the matter is Muslims, the double standards fly. When seeking to identify terrorists, the people who have no problem placing the probing eye on males warn that Muslims mustn’t receive extra scrutiny. But why? As far as the terrorist threat facing the West goes, “Muslim” is a more consistent part of the terrorist profile than is “male,” as there have been more female suicide bombers than non-Muslim ones.
Some may say we must be especially sensitive with regard to race (yes, I realize “Islamic” isn’t a race), but this is silly for two reasons. First, it is a hang-up; it is suicidal to sacrifice blood on the altar of political correctness. Second, there is no blanket refusal to consider racial factors when profiling. For example, part of the profile for serial killers and methamphetamine dealers is “Caucasian.”
Likewise, given that more than 90 percent of the illegals in Arizona hail from Mexico and Latin America, isn’t “Hispanic” part of the relevant profile here? Mind you, the operative word is “part.” To say “This person appears to be of Mexican descent, so he must be illegal” is no different than assuming that every white person deals meth — it would be bad profiling. But just as a meth dealer will usually exhibit characteristics that distinguish him from Morris the accountant, an illegal alien is usually distinguishable from an acculturated Hispanic American.