Jacqueline Weibye

Black Racial Profiling on the Road

In recent events, there has been a national uproar about an issue that concerns America as a whole: racial profiling. No one is born racist, yet for so long in the United States, racial profiling has been affecting minority groups in all sorts of different ways. One minority group of special note is African Americans.

A couple weeks ago, the New York Times published an article The Disproportionate Risks of Driving While Black, by Sharon LaFraniere and Andrew W. Lehren. The article discussed the amount of cars being pulled over for false accusations of drug and illegal contraband possession and the confrontation leading to violence. In a great sum of these cases, police would attack law-abiding black citizens without probable cause.

Victims of these attacks were dragged, punched, even tasered by police for no reason – even if the person showed no sign of aggressive behavior towards the police. Attacking an unarmed citizen is a highly senseless act in itself, but what happens afterwards is far more unjust. Most black drivers were then charged for assaulting the officer and in many cases, the citizen’s own injuries were ignored. Unfortunately, unlawful officers continue to get away with their crimes while innocent citizens get hurt. Just because a police officer was having a bad day and wanted to take their anger out, does not mean that African Americans must suffer as a result. In other cases like these, African Americans come close to or lose their jobs over having been falsely accused and apologize for something they did not do.

This is truly an issue that more people need to look more into. It is extremely upsetting to realize that our police force – our supposed symbol of safety and trust – are randomly attacking the guiltless. People are starting to lose their faith in the police and now, some do not even feel safe in their own houses.

Discrimination has been getting out of hand and although personal bias is difficult to overcome, there are a few things that could be done to treat this problem. Spreading awareness about this issue is extremely important in educating the general public, especially to students and children. Some impacting programs such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Racial Justice Program do just that. These programs assist African Americans in defending themselves by educating them on their rights, which could have a big effect on the outcome of this problem. In particular, the ACLU’s Ambassador Project uses public media with multiple filming, television, music, and comedy industries to help spread awareness for ACLU’s key issues. With the information gained from these institutions, many blacks can learn ways to protect themselves. For example, an individual has the right to refuse a police officer’s command to get out of his or her car. In addition, by knowing their rights, victims can change the way they react in a conflict by using words instead of violence, making officers more hesitant in attacking a black driver.

No one deserves to be treated unfairly by another, much less attacked by them. Racial profiling has become a national concern. Although progress is being made, this injustice is still affecting countless innocent people who did not choose to be born of the race that defines them. The most shocking of these encounters have lead to death. 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot down 6 to 8 times by a police officer for walking on the sidewalk. 43-year-old Eric Garner died from a choke hold by four officers when he denied charges of untaxed cigarettes. 19-year-old Timothy Thomas, father of an infant son, was shot by a police officer because he was walking outside a local nightclub. 22-year-old Amadou Diallo was shot 41 times by four officers who thought he looked like a serial rapist and mistakenly believed his wallet was a gun.

These are just a few of the many incidents where blameless African American people were attacked by law enforcement. It is unbelievable how only three of these four cases were taken to court and in the case of Brown, Garner, and Thomas, the police officers walked out of the incident without a single repercussion. This injustice needs to come to an end, whether by awareness or other means of public reform. 

Janus Kwong
staff writer

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