Whenever a favored minority group is, pick your verb, arrested, convicted, or incarcerated, the mainstream media and their liberal enablers go into overdrive. A recent and continuing cause célèbre is the alleged profiling by police of one or more of those favored groups. Typical story? Here’s one.
“Racial profiling,” in the Left’s usage, means that innocent people are harassed by police for the “crime” of being black, Hispanic, Muslim, homosexual, or some mix of all of these. It’s a great myth, and, like many a myth, has its origins in reality. If you were black and driving through Louisiana when I lived there in the 1970s, there was a pretty good chance some parish (county) deputy would pull you over for any infraction, however minor.
That was then, but forty years on, there’s a pretty good chance that parish deputy in Louisiana will be black. And, especially in major metropolitan areas like New York City, there isn’t “profiling” in the sense of stopping citizens merely because of their skin color.
The real profiling is when police act according to the actions of someone whose behavior fits a profile of proven criminality*. And, sadly, in New York City as elsewhere, blacks are vastly over-represented in the criminal classes. My training (which included federal law enforcement and criminal behavior) emphasized that it is the actions of the individual first, last, and only that are relevant. But, just as Willie Sutton is alleged to have said, he robbed banks because “that’s where the money is.” Which is why police tend to arrest more people in areas where crime is more prevalent.
Well, in large cities such as New York, if you want to catch criminals, you go to areas where more crimes occur, and be on the lookout for suspicious behavior on the part of people who fit the profile of those who have been convicted of crime. As Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute has written, in New York City,
Blacks, who constitute 23 percent of the city’s population, committed 66 percent of all violent crimes in 2011, according to victims and witnesses, and 73 percent of all shootings—but they were only 53 percent of all stop subjects. By contrast, whites, who constitute 35 percent of the city’s population, committed 6 percent of all violent crimes and 3 percent of all shootings. They made up 9 percent of all stops.
This is sad, but it’s not racial profiling. Unless of course one considers the stopping of whites 50% more frequently than their criminality would indicate to be profiling.
One may argue that blacks are over-represented in the criminal class because of, take your pick, poverty, past racial injustice, lack of a two-parent household, lack of personal responsibility, etc. Any or all of which may be true, but is not relevant for police. Police are not social workers. They are there to protect all citizens from crime. And that, of statistical necessity, means that if blacks commit a disproportionate percent of crimes, they will be arrested disproportionately.
To do anything less would be a dereliction of duty by those sworn to keep the peace.
*Examples: wearing a long coat on a hot summer day to conceal a weapon; excessive looking all around as if to avoid detection, especially while standing in one spot near a target.