Greg Roach's Berkshires Blog
Saturday, March 28, 2009
  When White Folks Get Profiled
Surprise! Conservative white folks don't like being judged by stereotypes any more than black folks.
The uproar revolves around a report released last month by the Missouri Information Analysis Center, a “fusion center” for local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to collaborate on domestic security issues. The report concerned militia movements in Missouri and across the U.S., and described how they had evolved over the last several years.

But it suggested that domestic militias often subscribed to radical ideologies rooted in Christian views and opposition to immigration, abortion or federal taxes. The report also stated that it was “not uncommon” for militia members to support third-party political candidates.
And what happens when you get "lumped in" with stereotypes?
Conservatives in Missouri and nationally have criticized the report for lumping people with conservative political views in with domestic terrorists and potentially opening them to harassment from law enforcement.
How many of those who are "outraged" by this report think it is perfectly appropriate to pull someone over because the color of their skin makes them stand out?

Hypocrite profiling sure is easy!
I'm gonna say the Venn diagram of "people upset about being profiled in this manner" and "people who have no trouble with profiling minorities and/or Muslims" looks like a solar eclipse just before totality.

Perhaps you could name a few notable white conservatives who say it is appropriate to pull someone over because they are black (or because they have leftwing bumper stickers). Or perhaps you cannot.
What I hear more often than outright endorsements of the practice, are claims that the practice does not exist. Anybody who listens to Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck, etc... has heard that claims of racial profiling are simply false. Often it is a variation of "the cop wouldn't have pulled them over if they hadn't done *something* wrong." Or they say "it's not racial profiling, it is criminal profiling."

And if you happen to even look slightly middle eastern, you can count on a hassle at the airport.

Although my favorite specific example of a modern conservative trying rationalize racial paranoia is Michelle Malkin's lovely ode "In Defense of Internment."

I also recall one of our city councilors, whose son is a police officer in Texas, writing on one of the local blogs about how it is perfectly appropriate to pull a black person over in a white neighborhood because you know that something is out of place.

Denial *is* tacit approval.
1) Denial is only tacit approval if the denier in fact believes what he denies believing.

2) If the best you can do is a particular North Adams city councilor, then indeed you cannot find a "notable white conservative" or any other evidence backing your claim of hypocrisy on the part of white conservatives collectively.

3) I have no doubt that some police and police departments, and perhaps even some entire state police departments, have recently discriminated against black people when deciding whom to pull over. And I would oppose any such racist police actions.

But to make the two situations comparable, we would have to see a report released by a law enforcement group which openly advocated pulling over blacks because it is "not uncommon" for blacks to be criminals. Of course, a racist policeman or police consultant which released such a report would have no defenders and would be fired (except possibly he would be defended by his union, which would defend him against almost any charge leading to a firing).
Greg-- youare wrong on that one--chbpod
Let me follow up-- my son works the overnight shift in Southwest Dallas- it is 95% plus Hispanic and Black---his racial profiling is of WHITE dudes driving a Lexus- Beamer or Mercedes in his district in the wee hours of the morning--either the guy is lost or he's looking to soore some drugs- a hooker- or both--He simply can't racially profile Hispanics and Blacks--because they are clearly the overwhelming majority of residents--as for suggesting that racial profiling of minorities in white neighborhoods is OK-- I don't believe I ever said that- but did acknowledge that it does happen---that it with the suspicion that something is "out of place"---the omplication in your post was that my son engages in racial profiling of minorities--he does not-- white dudes?? yes he does-----why the suspicion? no white person in their right mind would cruise through Southwest Dallas---unless they were lost or looking to score---he gets more than his share of car-jackings--chbpod
Clark - Apologies to your son if I made it sound like he was violating the law (not what I was trying to do) but I do think that there is a problem when police pull someone over because they look out of place. If you are within your rights to be driving down a public street, then the color of skin is not probable cause.

Dave - Be as obtuse as you want to be, but you know as well as I do that no conservative leader in their right mind is going to get up and pull a George Wallace circa 1960. ("Racial Profiling Forever!") However, if you were to ask the pundits I mentioned as well as several of more fringy GOP types if the police officers/departments that you admit do pull people over who have done nothing wrong what they thought of the practice, I would bet a case of your favorite beer that they would say something to the effect that "the officers are just doing their job."

I wonder what would happen to a black motorist in Boston and some of the 'burbs who drove around in a car with a "Tawana Told the Truth" or a "Nation of Islam" bumper sticker. Better yet, what would happen to that same motorist in most of Missouri?

The point of the post is that being stereotyped by the cops has a far different reaction when it happens to "God fearing white guys" in middle America.
Thanks Greg--apology accepted---but as much as the idea of a white guy driving in Southwest Dallas at 3AM---- could be regarded as suspicious---it also could be the guy was lost--- I don't know how Brewster handles such stops--but it could be -"excuse me sir are you lost?"----lets put it his way--a car let's say a Lexus- with a well dressed- or even casually dressed black man- is on Marion Ave. at 3AM-----cop probably figures it is a resident coming home ---Lexus with 4 black dudes---Ct or NY plates on Marion Ave. at 3 AM---is there a difference??? Do you know where your children are??----which would you prefer-- that the cop NOT pull over the 4 black dudes---or just let them cruise Marion Ave----while he goes back to Dunkin Donuts----your choice---as to your reference to Middle Eastern types being profiled at airports-- you have a neighbor on Marion- of Middle Eastern ancestry---and he tells me if he is pukked aside at an airport by security-- God bless them----he's got nothing to hide-- and he'll feel more secure on that plane because of the people doing their jobs--I have no idea about bumper stickers- except that whenever I see an Obama sticker I know that a left wing wing nut is in the car----that's political profiling---I avoid them- knowing full well that all they will do is whine and quote Bill Ayers if we have an accident----chbpod

Again you "prove" the ill intent of your political opponents by presuming their ill intent. Naturally if we are obtuse or dishonest about what we really believe, you don't have to risk actually considering what we actually write or say in our actual arguments.

The "driving while black" issue got widespread attention from the press, the ACLU and the courts, money damages, and police departments forced to track race in all their stops and hire "independent police practices consultant(s)." It also got sociology professors to whip up results-oriented trash statistics to show the problem is widespread, when there are a number of reasons to believe it is not.

For one reason to believe that the statistics such as these
are grossly incompetent or dishonest, see

Lamberth (1st link) claimed that "African Americans made up 13.5 percent of the turnpike's population and 15 percent of the speeders. But they represented 35 percent of those pulled over. In stark numbers, blacks were 4.85 times as likely to be stopped as were others." But he used going just 1 MPH over the speed limit as his definition of speeding, even though he knew that 98% of cars were speeding by his definition. Thus he has to presume that the police stops are arbitrary as to driving in order to "prove" that they must be due to race. The NY Times link shows that if we look at drivers going at least 15 MPH over the speed limit (speeds actually likely to lead to being pulled over), blacks, who are 16% of drivers on the NJ Turnpike, are 25% of the speeders (and 23% of the drivers pulled over).

There are indeed legitimate grounds for opposing the "driving while black" lawsuits and their results while also opposing a report which openly says a Ron Paul bumper sticker is suspicious.

Actual police documents recommending political bias are just as troubling as actual police documents recommending racial bias. Some of latter documents indeed existed, yet you won't find any mainstream conservative journals such as National Review or City Journal, both of which have had much to say on these issues, supporting either kind of bias.
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