Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Rhode Island's Epiphany

The lovely state of Rhode Island has agreed to stop racial profiling on its streets and highways. This would be awesome, had it not been over 40 years late. The sudden grip of consciousness arises from a couple incidents last years in which Rhode Island police portrayed what some could view as slightly prejudicial. Mainly, one incident involving a group of Guatemalan nationals in which the future felons failed to - gasp - use their turn signal when changing lanes on I-95. So what would you do to these folks who have no respect for the law? Demand their identification and if they can't produce it, take them straight to your local federal immigration office. Conveniently, the article where I got the information from left out whether the Guatemalans in this case were in the United States legally or illegally.

So, Rhode Island joins other states with anti-profiling legislation, but racial profiling has received less and less attention over the years, and not because it is declining. The problem is that the cops who practice it are able to cover it up with inane reasons for traffic stops, like failing to signal when changing lanes on an interstate. I must ask when the last time a white man was pulled over for failing to signal on an interstate. Chances are, it has been a long time. It was only years ago that New Jersey had a similar epiphany, but this one involved gun play against kids who had the nerve to travel on the New Jersey Turnpike to go to a basketball tournament. Essentially, we all need to remember that racial profiling is still prevalent and racism still exists, it is just much harder to detect. Peace.

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