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Is Racial Profiling Racist? ^ | August 19, 2009 | Walter E. Williams

Posted on 08/19/2009 4:59:38 AM PDT by Kaslin

Harvard Professor Henry Gates' arrest has given new life to the issue of racial profiling. We can think of profiling in general as a practice where people use an observable or known physical attribute as a proxy or estimator of some other unobservable or unknown attribute. Race or sex profiling is simply the use of race or sex as that estimator. Profiling represents mankind's attempt to cope with information cost. God would not have to profile since God is all knowing.

People differ by race and sex. Let's look at a few profiling examples to see which ones you'd like outlawed. According to the American Cancer Society, the lifetime risk of men getting breast cancer is about 1/10th of 1 percent, or 1 in 1,000; and 440 men will die of breast cancer this year. For women, the risk of developing breast cancer is about 12 percent, or 1 in 8, and 40,610 will die from it this year. Should doctors and medical insurance companies be prosecuted for the discriminatory practice of routine breast cancer screening for women but not for men?

Some racial and ethnic groups have higher incidence and mortality from various diseases than the national average. The rates of death from cardiovascular diseases are about 30 percent higher among black adults than among white adults. Cervical cancer rates are five times higher among Vietnamese women in the U.S. than among white women. Pima Indians of Arizona have the highest known diabetes rates in the world. Prostate cancer is nearly twice as common among black men as white men.

Knowing patient race or ethnicity, what might be considered as racial profiling, can assist medical providers in the delivery of more effective medical services.

One might take the position that while it is acceptable for doctors to use race, ethnicity and sex as indicators of the higher probability of certain diseases, it is not acceptable to use race or ethnicity as indicators for other attributes such as criminal behavior. Other than simply stating that it is acceptable to use race or ethnicity as information acquisition technique in the case of medicine but not in other areas of life, is there really a difference? Surely, race and ethnicity are not perfect indicators of the risk of prostate cancer or hypertension; neither are they perfect indicators of criminal behavior; however, there are concrete factual data that surely indicate associations. Criminologist Marvin Wolfgang says, "For four violent offenses -- homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assault -- the crime rates for blacks are at least 10 times as high as they are for whites."

In a 1999 article, "Capital Cabbies Salute Race Profiling," James Owens writes, "If racial profiling is racism, then the cab drivers of Washington, D.C., they themselves mainly blacks and Hispanics, are all for it. A District taxicab commissioner, Sandra Seegars, who is black, issued a safety-advice statement urging D.C.'s 6,800 cabbies to refuse to pick 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."

The Pizza Marketing Quarterly carried a story of charges of racial discrimination filed in St. Louis against Papa John’s pizza delivery services. Papa John's district manager said she could not and would not ask her drivers to put their lives on the line. She added that the racial discrimination accusation is false because 75 to 85 percent of the drivers in the complaining neighborhood are black and, moreover, most of those drivers lived in the very neighborhood being denied delivery service.

Some years ago, the Rev. Jesse Jackson complained, "There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery -- then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved."

Here's my question: Is the racial profiling done by cab drivers, pizza deliverers or Jesse Jackson a sign of racism or economizing on information costs?

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: blackkk; gates; henrygates; henrylouisgatesjr; mrskippy; skipgates; walterwilliams; williams

1 posted on 08/19/2009 4:59:38 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin
Is Racial Profiling Racist?

If the police receive a call about a black man who just robbed a store, do they go look'n for an albino?

I am just say'n...

2 posted on 08/19/2009 5:01:03 AM PDT by Puppage (You may disagree with what I have to say, but I shall defend to your death my right to say it)
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To: Kaslin

Racial profiling may or may not be depends on the motivation and what’s in a person’s mind.

But the REAL problem is that the language has been usurped by the left. The concept comes from law enforcement and, as such, is a perfectly fine methodology. The skinny is, when profiling criminals it is perfectly logical to include race as ONE of the factors. Not including race, even if it is simply to determine that it is NOT a consideration in the equation, would be completely idiotic.

In other words, it is CRIMINAL profiling that includes race as one factor. It is not RACIAL profiling.

3 posted on 08/19/2009 5:06:48 AM PDT by Lee'sGhost (Johnny Rico picked the wrong girl!)
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To: Kaslin

Politically correct police bulletin:

“Police are seeking information about the suspect in an armed robbery.”

Common sense police bulletin:

“Police are seeking information about a white male, approximately 5’8” to 5’-10”, 220 - 250 pounds, with thinning blond hair. Suspect is wanted for questioning in connection with an armed robbery.”

Yep totally racist!

4 posted on 08/19/2009 5:08:36 AM PDT by Islander7 (If you want to anger conservatives, lie to them. If you want to anger liberals, tell them the truth.)
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To: Kaslin
I well recall being taken to task 30 years ago by a black man who was being admitted to the hospital where I was a PA because I started my admitting history with the phrase “Mr. Jones is a 56-year-old black male . . “ He demanded to know what race had to do with it. I explained that it was a matter of identification, nothing more and certainly nothing racist. I pointed out that by starting my history with that description the surgeon would know what to look for when he entered the OR and encountered the patient. If he found a white man then he would know something was amiss. Not a foolproof solution for operating on the wrong patient, but just one more step in a series of steps intended to assure the safety of the patient.

I see absolutely nothing that the police would have done differently in the Gates situation had he been white. It's a shame Gates can make this a racial thing by simply claiming it is.

5 posted on 08/19/2009 5:34:52 AM PDT by jwparkerjr (God Bless America, and wake us up while you're about it!)
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To: Puppage

A cop sees a man on his knees, after dark, under a streetlamp.
He asks the man what he’s doing.
The man says “I’m looking for my wallet”.
The cop says “Where do you think you dropped it?”
The man says “oh, half a block back”.
The cop asks “why are you looking here, then?”
The man says “the light’s better here.”

6 posted on 08/19/2009 5:37:17 AM PDT by MrB (Go Galt now, save Bowman for later)
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To: Kaslin
No, it's efficient.
7 posted on 08/19/2009 5:38:10 AM PDT by mad_as_he$$ (Nemo me impune lacessit The law will be followed, dammit!)
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To: Lee'sGhost

Perhaps if some young black males would get tired enough of being “profiled” for what other young black males do,

they’ll figure out how to change their culture so that the profile is wrong and not used anymore.

I guess they aren’t tired of it enough yet.

8 posted on 08/19/2009 5:40:44 AM PDT by MrB (Go Galt now, save Bowman for later)
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To: Kaslin

This began as drug profiling and race was just one element of a profile. Imagine a white man going into some neighborhoods and driving slowly or parking and opening a window. Law enforcement might reasonably infer that I am trolling for drugs or hookers.

One day in the last couple years Mrs. jimfree and I were out for a walk in the adjacent neighborhood of Riverdale, Maryland. That stretch of Kenilworth has convenience stores and latin restaurants and such. A (white) policeman of perhaps half our age walked up and asked if we were lost. It was terribly amusing to tell him we’d lived nearby for 20 years. As we walked away Ann laughed and exclaimed “we’ve been racially profiled!” We were so proud.

9 posted on 08/19/2009 5:53:51 AM PDT by jimfree (Freep and ye shall find!)
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To: Kaslin

Some racial and ethnic groups have higher incidence and mortality from their actions too.

10 posted on 08/19/2009 6:21:45 AM PDT by Vaduz
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To: MrB
The problem is deeper and more complex than just having enough black males decide to change.

LBJ started the destruction of the black family forty-five years ago. His Great Society financially penalized urban poor families that remained intact (mom and dad).

By the late sixties the father had started to disappear from the mother's list of necessities, 'daddy government' aka 'the welfare' paid the bills, and kept on paying them as long as the babies kept coming. I personally know women from that time who had multiple babies with different men just to keep the cash flowing.

By the late seventies some of this first wave was becoming thirty-five year old grandmothers. By the mid nineties many were fifty-eight year old great-grandmothers. And, there were no men involved beyond the sex. No male role models for any of the kids. The boys saw nothing but women in charge. the girls never saw what a man is supposed to be. The male/female relationship became reduced to sex as power.

At the same time the union/dem controlled urban school systems fell to a dismal level of almost criminal inefficiency. A few years ago the drop-out rate in NYC public High Schools was 52%. These kids were being taught to fail.

At the same time the factories that fuelled the urban economies for generations closed, the work going overseas. Result? No jobs.

So the boys are out on the street at sixteen. No father, no uncles, no grandfather to give guidance and not even the basic skills to get the most basic jobs. From there it's just a short step to jail then back on the street then jail then back on the street then prison.....

Throw in the entertainment industry that surrounds these young, unshaped and un-guided minds with sexy, strong, rich images of themselves that are based on being anti-social and you've got a world that you and I cannot ever fully understand but that is the only one that these kids see as possible for them.

It would take an almost Herculean effort of will for any of these young males to even see that there is another way to go let alone find a way to make it happen.

The hardest thing to be in America is young, male, poor and black. The world is stacked against you from the time the doctor slaps your ass.

Our country has created a permanent, violent underclass and the party in power is invested in keeping them that way.

Any freepers wanting to call this an apology for this sub-set of America can save their effort. This is the reality not an opinion or an excuse.

11 posted on 08/19/2009 6:23:50 AM PDT by wtc911 ("How you gonna get back down that hill?")
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To: Kaslin

profiling is a very good method for cops. If race is involved so be it. When the black community loses the chip on it’s shoulder and owns up to the fact being black means you are likely a criminal, then there can be progress.

12 posted on 08/19/2009 6:25:32 AM PDT by bert (K.E. N.P. +12 . fasl el-khitab)
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To: wtc911

Your analysis is spot on.

The only thing I’d add is that the left did this ON PURPOSE.

13 posted on 08/19/2009 6:28:08 AM PDT by MrB (Go Galt now, save Bowman for later)
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To: MrB
The only thing I’d add is that the left did this ON PURPOSE.


I believe that the dissolution of the black family was an unintended consequence. I also believe that once the dems saw the possibility of a permanent underclass that would always vote for them they criminally took legislative efforts to create that as the status quo.

14 posted on 08/19/2009 6:35:53 AM PDT by wtc911 ("How you gonna get back down that hill?")
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To: Kaslin

Extending the concept to a logical end...everytime some race pimp refers to two Americas, one white and one black or comments about a “typical white person” when referring to caucasians they are engaging in racial profiling. Affirmative action is also racial profiling. Racists one and all.

15 posted on 08/19/2009 6:41:42 AM PDT by RJS1950 (The democrats are the "enemies foreign and domestic" cited in the federal oath)
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To: Kaslin
Holder claims he want real dialogue on race?? This is where we need to start. People differ by race and sex. To our detriment and ultimately the destruction of our country we play pretend in this country on social issues and race. Just like medical conditions, education & culture race is a factor and matters.
16 posted on 08/19/2009 6:49:32 AM PDT by Altura Ct.
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To: wtc911
There is a saying, "He who wills the means, wills the end."

After it's been around long enough to have been changed, and it hasn't been changed, you got to suppose that the powers-that-be like it this way.

17 posted on 08/19/2009 9:44:31 AM PDT by thulldud (It HAS happened here!)
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