Racial Profiling – Not Just for Middle-aged Elite University Professors Any More!

Filed under: Talk About Race |


Originally published on Imagine 2050

Exhibit 1:

Florida kindergartner (African American) acts up in class (kicking, scratching). School officials call the police, wisely concluding that dozens of adults can avail little against the unleashed fury of a six year-old.

Arriving in the nick of time, law enforcement officers cuff the pint-sized perpetrator around the forearms, her wrists being too small for the cuffs (is there no end to her villainy!). They put her in a police cruiser. Somber-faced adults stand about, tsk-tsking.

The police chief defends the actions of his people: “When there is an outburst of violence, we have a duty to protect and make that school a safe environment for the students, staff and faculty. That’s why, at this point, the person was arrested regardless what the age.”

The girl was charged with a felony and two misdemeanors.

Exhibit 2:

Ohio woman leaves her 84 year-old mother (African American) in the car while she stops in at Wal-Mart. The mother manages to cut the seatbelt with a knife and exits the car. She is frail and walks with a cane. She has Alzheimer’s.

The woman allegedly threatens passersby and police are summoned. Evidently confused, she does not immediately comply with their requests to put the knife down. Nor is she wielding the knife in a way that appears remotely threatening. (See video.) Officer Tammy Scott takes the woman to the ground, forcefully, resulting in head injuries that will require stitches.

Dr. Richard Weinblatt, director of the Institute for Public Safety at Central Ohio Technical College, concludes that: “It’s not pretty, but when we’re looking at what could ultimately happen in that situation, the age can’t really be a big factor. It’s a public relations nightmare in some ways, but the officer did what she had to do.”

No charges were brought against the Alzheimer’s patient.


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Author: Andrew Grant-Thomas (8 Articles)

Andrew Grant-Thomas

Andrew Grant-Thomas is Deputy Director of the Kirwan Institute. He directs the Institute’s internal operations and oversees much of its US-based programming. His substantive interests include structural racism and implicit bias, alliance-building between immigrants and African Americans, African American males and gender dynamics within the African American community, and the promotion of systems thinking through videogames. Andrew serves as Associate Editor of the Institute’s journal, Race/Ethnicity: Multidisciplinary Global Contexts. He also edited Twenty-first Century Color Lines: Multiracial Change in Contemporary America, published in 2008 by Temple University Press. He is sits on the boards of several nonprofit organizations and various social justice initiatives. Andrew came to the Kirwan Institute in February of 2006 from the Civil Rights Project at Harvard University where he directed the Color Lines Conference and managed a range of policy-oriented racial justice projects. He received his B.A. in Literature from Yale University, his M.A. in International Relations from the University of Chicago, and his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Chicago.

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