Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Problem With Profiling

White men have sexually harassed me on public transportation.  Most of these men have been fairly young.  More than one young white male has rubbed his erect penis against me on crowded buses.  Twice, white men have exposed themselves to me. Still I do not expect that all young white men are going to sexually assault me.

We know that people from the Middle East have committed terrorist acts.  So have people from all parts of the world including Europe and the United States. I know a lot of people from the Middle East and I can assure you that they are not terrorists.

Young black men do commit crimes.  (Men, young and old, and of every race commit crimes.  So do women.)  But I really don't believe that most people are criminals.

I know some gay people are pedophiles.  It happens in the straight community as well.  I had many straight men behave inappropriately with me when I was under 18.  I never had a gay woman behave inappropriately with me when I was a teen.

Some Mexicans are here in the US illegally.  Some are also criminals.  Most Mexicans are here in the US quite legally and are not criminals.

My black gay girlfriend was talking to another friend of mine, a Mexican contractor, this week.  They were both carrying on about Chinese landlords and how terrible they are.  I have had Chinese landlords and found them to be just fine.  (Alex and I would not have been able to buy our first house if our wonderful Chinese landlord hadn't helped us by loaning us money for the down payment.) 

I think listening to my friends talk about how tight with money, what bad drivers, how superstitious Chinese people are really made me think.  Here are two people, a black gay woman, and a young Mexican man and I would figure that they would both realize how wrong and ridiculous profiling is.  Obviously, I expect too much.

Profiling is wrong and dangerous.  Someone innocent could end up dead.  Wait.  Someone innocent did end up dead.

34 comments:

  1. I'm still trying to figure out how self-defense includes chasing someone down who has committed no crime. If they are running away from you, that isn't very threatening. Sad.

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  2. Renee, I really don't understand how anybody could have found Zimmerman "not guilty" of at least manslaughter. He may not have committed murder, but he did cause the death of a young man who did nothing to deserve it. I'm horrified at this outcome.

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  3. Generalizations on any level or subject leave the door for inaccuracies. I am with you. I hate to ever hear the word ALL applied to any group, race, religion....whatever. The word All never applies to everyone.

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  4. Nancy/BLissed-Out GrandmaJuly 15, 2013 at 10:44 AM

    It turns out that Florida law allows anybody who can claim they "felt" threatened to kill the other person...even if the other person is running away and gets tracked down and stabbed in the back blocks from the initial encounter. Where the rest of us fault Zimmerman for stalking Trayvon in the first place, Florida law says, "You go, guy!" I hope the federal government (or somebody) can get that law changed, because you're right, an innocent person died. And he isn't the first, or the last.

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  5. Hey Linda, yep, true, and barring occasional epiphanies like this, I figure we all tar people with a broad brush in some way. Indigo x

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  6. Excellent piece, Linda. Really excellent. Sharing.

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  7. Thanks Jayne. I'm sick over the death of this young man. And I blame Zimmerman, Florida gun laws, racism, and profiling.

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  8. I think we all profile a lot of the time, whether we recognize it or not. But most of us aren't armed and stalking anyone, Indigo.

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  9. Nancy, this was a wrongful death any way I look at it. People should not be walking around with concealed weapons following other people who are minding their own business. This is a disgrace.

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  10. Succinct and real. Thank you

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  11. By the time the jury was offered the choice to consider a manslaughter charge, it was too late for the prosecution to make THAT case. To me, it seems that the prosecutor screwed the pooch by overreaching with the a 2nd-degree murder charge that couldn't be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. That jury had one helluva difficult job and I hope their names are never made public.

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  12. Cheryl, you nailed it. People are individuals and should be perceived as such. My 20 year old grandson wears low slung pants at times along with a oversized hoodie. It's fashion, not an indictment.

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  13. Thank you for commenting, Joanna.

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  14. I agree that the case should have been charged as manslaughter from the beginning.

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  15. I've been a few places and what is in one race can be found in another. I've never visited a place but I've lived among the folk in these other countries and folk are folk. Whatever is humanly possible in one culture is possible in another. Some have bought in the superiority/inferiority complexes that perpetuate profiling. Shame on Florida. Shame on America.

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  16. People are people, Totsy. And a young boy is dead who should not be. This is a disgrace.

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  17. Well said, Linda. I couldn't agree more.

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  18. This is a beautifully articulated piece, hon. There are just too many unfounded stereotypes and the results are tragic.

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  19. I'm with you on this one. It's very easy to generalize. Unfortunately thinking things through seems to be really difficult for some people.

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  20. I really do try to avoid generalizations when it comes to people. When Alex was deployed to the Middle East for a year, a young guy I worked with drove me to and from work every day. Jawan was in his 20's, black, tatts all over, low hanging pants and loved rap music. He was also the kindest person around. If you looked at his tattoos, they were all biblical scripture. He didn't drink, smoke, or swear. You simply can't judge people you don't know.

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  21. Oh, Linda. This is such a powerful post and a very sad world we live in.

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  22. You know Meleah, I think we can make things better. But it's taking way too much time.

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  23. All I can say is I hope if I am ever accused of anything I never have juror B37 on my jury. After listening to her interview with Anderson Cooper, I don't think she understands that seeing "one of 'them' walking through the neighborhood" is profiling. And just because someone has a good heart does not allow him to get away with murder because he just "carried it too far, but I'm sure he's learned his lesson now" (that is paraphrased but if you saw the interview you got the gist.) Oh, but I'm from the south, so what do I know, I guess you assume I'm a stupid red neck who hangs out with Honey Boo Boo.

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  24. Ann, you are as far from Honey Boo Boo as you are from the woman on Mars. This case was a travesty and juror B37 with all of her "theys" and "thems" was outrageous. I'm just so sorry that young boy was killed and the person who killed him is beyond reproach.

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  25. You nailed it, Linda! Profiling demeans all of us.

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  26. It really does, Paula. I really try to "check myself" when I feel like a temptation to feel prejudice toward a group slips in.

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  27. Powerful post. And so, so true.

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  28. Thank you, Kato. It really is how I feel about lumping people into a pile and painting them all with the same flaws.

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  29. I heart this post!!

    Stereotyping/profiling people will be the death of humanity if we are not careful.

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