Patterico's Pontifications

7/25/2009

L.A. Times Runs Lame Piece on Racial Profiling

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General,Race — Patterico @ 10:57 pm

As long as we’re having this frank discussion about race and everything, let me express something that really bugs me: the ability of some black people to turn literally any legitimate police stop into an example of “racial profiling.” The Henry Louis Gates arrest, in which a cop was merely following up on a legitimate report of black men breaking into Gates’s house, is but the latest example — but this goes on all the time. We constantly have to read stories about black men being allegedly oppressed by cops — yet once the facts are known, turns out that the officers are simply doing their jobs.

Take today’s L.A. Times article on racial profiling, titled Black males’ fear of racial profiling very real, regardless of class. Here’s the passage that caught my eye:

And yet [Lorenzo] Wyche is also gripped at times by the gnawing suspicion that his black skin makes him a target. He was recently driving in midtown Atlanta. In front of him, an attractive white woman walked across the road, catching his eye. Behind him, a white policeman turned on his lights and pulled Wyche over.

But there would be no fireworks. The officer warned Wyche about an expired tag on his Porsche, and drove away.

You might think this would be the point where Wyche says: “So that showed me that not every stop is necessarily racial profiling.” If that’s what you’d think, you’d think wrong.

“So that was my moment,” Wyche said, with a laugh. “Did he run my tag just because I stared at this white girl?”

Wyche figures he will never know whether he was profiled.

This is the point where many of us want to tear our hair out in frustration. Jesus Christ! His tag was expired — and the cop even had the courtesy of giving the guy a warning instead of a ticket! Nevertheless, the cop is suspected of racism. [UPDATE: Jack Dunphy adds in the comments: "[T]he officer didn’t need to run the tag to see that the Porsche’s registration had expired, all he had to do was look at it. I’ve long had the habit of scrutinizing the license plate of every single car I find myself behind. Should I be discouraged from doing so, out of fear of giving offense, when the car is driven by a black person?”]

Ironically, even the fact that he wasn’t issued a ticket can be spun as evidence of racism. For example:

Kwame Dunston says he has made the calculated choice to take it — repeatedly. The public school administrator says he has been pulled over more than 20 times in the last decade, but has rarely been issued a ticket. What factor other than race, he wondered, would account for all of those stops?

Gee, I dunno. Maybe Dunston did something wrong, and the cop was courteous and didn’t issue a ticket? Like Wyche, the guy with the expired tag who got off with a warning?

But what I find the most galling is when a black man commits a crime, and another black man who fits the description is stopped — and the man who got stopped blames the cop, rather than the black man who committed the crime. And Big Media always seems to join the chorus of condemnation for the cop.

Here are two examples from recent days. First, the Washington Post:

Coming out of another hotel, [Bob Johnson] was stopped by security — locked in a revolving door — because a black man had committed a mugging in the building and they were stopping all black men coming out of the building.

Wow. Looks like the mugger inconvenienced a lot of people. Was that the focus of the article? No. The responsibility of the criminal is never discussed — nor does it come up in a similar story in the Boston Globe:

[S. Allen] Counter has faced a similar situation himself. The well-known neuroscience professor, who is also black, was stopped by two Harvard police officers in 2004 after being mistaken for a robbery suspect as he crossed Harvard Yard. They threatened to arrest him when he could not produce identification.

“This is very disturbing that this could happen to anyone, and not just to a person of such distinction,” Counter said. “He was just shocked that this had happened, at 12:44 in the afternoon, in broad daylight. It brings up the question of whether black males are being targeted by Cambridge police for harassment.”

No, they’re being targeted by cops looking for a robbery suspect. Presumably Counter was mistaken for a robbery suspect because another black man with a similar description had robbed somebody. Perhaps even in broad daylight. The cops didn’t make the black robber commit the robbery — nor did they pick the time of day when it happened.

Again, who was doing something wrong? The cops doing their jobs? Or the guy who committed the crime?

In Big Media, the answer is always the same: the cops. Why does nobody ever bring up the fact that the actual criminal is actually to blame??

Wouldn’t making that simple point contribute to mutual understanding, and help ease those racial tensions Big Media claims to be so worried about?

Obama: “They Have An Agenda”

Filed under: Government,Obama — DRJ @ 6:14 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Barack Obama objected to the influence of lobbyists in Washington as a Presidential candidate. For instance, during the Democratic primary in August 2007, Obama admonished Hillary Clinton for not admitting the threat lobbyists posed to her 1993 healthcare initiative:

“I disagree with the notion that lobbyists don’t have disproportionate influence. Look the insurance and the drug companies spent $1 billion in lobbying over the last 10 years. Now, Hillary, you were talking earlier about the efforts you made back in 1993. Well, you can’t tell me that that money did not have a difference. They are not spending that just because they are contributing to the public interest. They have an agenda.

Then in May 2008, during the general election, Obama skewered John McCain because he “can’t see or won’t acknowledge what’s obvious to all of us here today — that lobbyists aren’t just part of the system in Washington, they’re part of the problem.”

Now, today, Obama’s best hope to pass healthcare reform may be those very lobbyists he used to condemn his opponents:

A strong force, perhaps as powerful in Congress as President Barack Obama, is keeping the drive for health care going even as lawmakers seem hopelessly at odds.

Lobbyists.

The drug industry, the American Medical Association, hospital groups and the insurance lobby are all saying Congress must make major changes this year. Television ads paid for by drug companies and insurers continued to emphasize the benefits of a health care overhaul — not the groups’ objections to some of the proposals.”

Summing up: Obama opposes lobbyists, except when they support his agenda.

UPDATE 7/26/2009: In a significant change, the Obama administration will now allow lobbyists to meet and have telephonic discussions with government officials regarding economic recovery projects.” Now it’s the stimulus. Can healthcare be far behind?

– DRJ

Henry Louis Gates: Isn’t It Time We Moved On?

Filed under: General,Race — Patterico @ 4:04 pm

It appears Henry Louis Gates wants to move on dot org:

Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. says he is ready to move on from his arrest by a white police officer, hoping to use the encounter to improve fairness in the criminal justice system and saying “in the end, this is not about me at all.”

When they say it’s not about them, it’s about them.

I can understand why Gates wants to move on. His stereotypical narrative of Sgt. Crowley as a racist cop has been pretty well demolished by the facts on the ground. The more we learn about this incident, the more it sounds like Gates was belligerent and in the wrong. Who knows? maybe he had a few too many beers on the plane back from China. For whatever reason, he decided Crowley was a racist simply because Crowley told him to “step outside,” rather than bowing and scraping to his eminence the fancy Harvard professor. A lot of people in the country are starting to think Gates was just a jerk. Time to move on!

Gates makes it clear that if we’re not going to “Move On,” then he wants any future debate to be conducted on his terms:

I am pleased that he, too, is eager to use my experience as a teaching moment, and if meeting Sgt. Crowley for a beer with the President will further that end, then I would be happy to oblige.

Yeah. You know, I strongly urge Sgt. Crowley not to have that beer. It’s clear Gates wants to condescendingly “teach” Crowley why his actions really were racist — and if he just understood the history of racism in this country, he would understand why he’s such a racist. Before you know it, Sgt. Crowley will be wishing the Secret Service hadn’t taken his handcuffs away. Best to just skip it entirely, sir.

Anyway, why would you have a beer with someone who has called you a liar? In an interview with Gayle King, Gates claimed that Sgt. Crowley — a guy whom Obama called a decent man — falsified his police report. He directly accuses the officer of making up the quote where Gates said “I’ll speak to your mama outside.”

I wouldn’t have a beer with someone who called me a liar.

Aid to Honduras Suspended

Filed under: International,Obama — DRJ @ 1:44 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Former President Manuel Zelaya returned again today to the Honduran border, this time vowing to camp at the rural frontier crossing for the next two days.

Hillary Clinton had previously called Zelaya’s efforts “reckless” but the U.S. State Department confirmed it has scheduled further discussions with Zelaya on Tuesday in Washington, D.C., and that some aid to Honduras has been suspended:

“Washington has already suspended more than $18 million in military and development assistance. The European Union has frozen $92 million in development aid.”

I had hoped the Obama Administration would decide to let this issue drop but, instead, it’s apparently decided to use long-term financial pressure to squeeze the Honduran government. I guess Zelaya is just too impatient to wait for it to work.

– DRJ

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?

Filed under: Obama,Terrorism,War — DRJ @ 1:24 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Pentagon’s chief lawyer won’t rule out that some Guantanamo detainees will be brought to the United States for prosecution or long-term incarceration:

“Defense Department general counsel Jeh Charles Johnson told the House Armed Services Committee that some suspected terrorists might be transferred to the U.S. for prosecution and others sent to a facility inside the U.S. for long-term incarceration.

Administration officials had raised those possible moves before, but Congress in June passed a law that would allow Guantanamo detainees to be transferred to the U.S. for prosecution only after lawmakers have had two months to read a White House report on how it plans to shut down the Guantanamo detention facility and disperse the inmates. The law is silent on whether Guantanamo detainees can be held inside the U.S. if they do not have a trial pending.”

Johnson stated no detainees would be released in the U.S. He also said the Obama Administration had not decided what to do with newly captured detainees.

– DRJ

The Gates Affair (continued)

Filed under: Current Events,General,Race — Jack Dunphy @ 7:13 am

[Guest post by Jack Dunphy]

For those dwindling few of you who haven’t grown weary of the subject, I have another column on the matter up on the Web today. You can find it here, at Pajamas Media.

–Jack Dunphy

UPDATE BY PATTERICO: Classic. I think this might be my favorite Jack Dunphy column ever. I’m going to quote the first two paragraphs to whet your appetite:

I had a terrible nightmare last night: I dreamed I was driving along in my patrol car when I responded to a fairly routine radio call. Someone had reported a possible burglary, and when I went to the home to investigate I encountered not the burglar I was led to believe I would find but rather the home’s resident, an Ivy League professor who, while indignantly challenging my authority to inquire into the reported crime, couldn’t resist doing so without calling my intelligence into question, accusing me of racial bias, and even going so far as to insult my sainted mother. When the verbal provocations escalated further and crossed the line into illegal conduct, I slapped the handcuffs on the man and hauled him down to the station house. A frothing media maelstrom then ensued, with reporters clogging the streets outside my home and traipsing across the lawn and through the shrubbery with their cameras and their boom microphones and their incessant, impertinent questions. Finally, the president of the United States was on television telling the entire world how stupid I am.

Then I woke up.

It just gets better and better as it goes along. The end is one of the funniest passages I have seen in any Dunphy column — or any column by anyone, for that matter. But it would be unfair to quote it here. Go read the whole thing, now.


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