|Racial Profiling - Crying Wolf
7/30/2014 4:14:11 PM
By Barney Blakeney
I know this is going to tick some people off, but Black folks need to stop all the crap about police racial profiling. Not that it doesn’t happen, but what the heck are we going to do about it?
It’s like the little boy crying wolf - you hear it so much, pretty soon you just tune it out. That’s what white folks have done. They’ve tuned out Black folk’s protest of racial profiling.
Let me take back my initial statement, Black folks still need to protest racial profiling, but every incident may not be racial profiling - when it’s not we need to deal with that reality and when it is we need to handle that with the full realization that white folks don’t give a darn about some negroes holding meetings.
Since the controversial June 20 shooting death of Denzel Curnell Black folks have railed about the racial profiling that likely contributed to his death. I wasn’t there so I can’t say what was going through that cop’s mind when he stopped Curnell for questioning. He said Curnell wore a hooded shirt on a hot night in a crime-infested community.
One of the boy’s relatives told me Curnell wasn’t wearing a hooded shirt though all official reports make that claim. Like I said, I wasn’t there, but let’s assume Curnell did wear that kind of shirt. I’ve come to realize that the manner of dress these kids wear doesn’t dictate who they are or how they behave - you can’t judge the book by the cover - but I’d be lying if I don’t tell you I get suspicious of kids looking a certain way. Is that right? No, but that’s the way it is.
So now where do we go with this racial profiling thing? Cops admit they profile suspects. They say it’s not solely based on race. I think that’s probably true.
I believe race is one criteria they use in profiling, but not the only one. That’s not to say there aren’t some racist SOBs out there who have warped perceptions of Black people and allow their prejudice to outweigh their common sense, but that doesn’t diminish the value of using race as a factor in profiling.
I remember as a reporter for a local newspaper our editors asked us cop reporters to avoid using race in the descriptions of suspects in crimes. If the suspect was a six-foot-tall male wearing blue jeans and a red sweater, we couldn’t say whether the suspect was Black, white or orange.
I thought that was the most stupid thing in the world. Noting the race narrowed the field of suspects. But because the paper justly had been criticized for discriminatory reporting, they came up with that counterproductive policy.
Whether we like it or not there are times when racial profiling, or stereotyping, has its place. The truth of the matter is that much of the violent crime that occurs locally, happens in Black communities. It makes no sense for cops to patrol South of Broad Street looking for street corner illegal drug dealers. Not gonna find ‘em.
That’s not to say that you won’t find illegal drug dealers south of Broad Street. They tell me Thomas Ravenel, a candidate for the U.S. Senate from South Carolina who recently was convicted of illegal drug violations, owns a million-dollar pad down there. And I’ll bet if the cops ever were to go into some of those residences, they’d find some more illegal drug dealers. But if you want to find them on street corners, you got to go to the hood, baby.
We all know that racial profiling plays a significant role in crime - white folks usually commit white collar crimes, Black folks usually commit street crimes. If you want to find out who took the money in the bank fraud scheme look for Eldrich Von Shamaplenty. If you want to know who shoplifted the pampers and laundry detergent from the neighborhood grocery store, look for Pookie an nem.
We may hate police racial profiling, but the reality is it is saving some lives. Yes, costing us some too, but police racial profiling has saved more Black lives than its taken.
I look at North Charleston where between 2000-2009 72 percent of all crimes were committed by Blacks and where in 2006 the city was ranked the nation’s seventh most violent city. Cops under Jon Zumalt’s administration came down hard in the Black community, but the murder rate was reduced 61 percent between 2006-2009. One year, 2011 there only were five murders in the city.
Personally, I think police focus on specific areas, usually Black communities, had a lot to do with the reduction in crime. If Black folks really are adamant about stopping police racial profiling, maybe we should be doing something as well to reduce crime in our communities.
We can start by teaching our bad a.. kids how to respect each other or if we’ve got to hold meetings, meet with school officials to demand quality education for those bad a.. kids.