I wrote this in bot's guestbook, but soon realized the issues could be addressed more completely in my own space.
"I have to disagree with some of that. Of course people should take responsibility for their actions, but prisons are full of black men and you can't tell me it's cause other ethnicities don't commit crimes. Actually, studies show that the number of black men in the general population has dwindled significantly, causing some sociologists to call that group "born prisoners." Racial profiling is very much a fact of our judicial system. It's a part of our lives. I think if you ask a person of color if they are ever allowed to forget they aren't white, you'll find that it's impossible. A white woman looks in the mirror and sees a woman; a black woman looks in a mirror and sees a black woman. Color is always there. Don't think it doesn't reflect in the police records or courtroom... Wrong is wrong, yes. But sometimes, wrong is only wrong when color gets involved."
I don't have the time or energy to address all these points, but basically, racial profiling is not a Black versus White issue. "Whitey" isn't the problem. It's our system, yes, the entire thing, that needs to be addressed here.
It's uninformed and defensive to claim that racism doesn't have it's role in our judicial system. Of course it does. Is it really feasible to say that black men are born criminals? And black men alone? The Bureau of Justice states:
"At year end 2000 there were 3,457 sentenced black male inmates per 100,000 black males in the United States, compared to 1,220 sentenced Hispanic male inmates per 100,000 Hispanic males and 449 white male inmates per 100,000 white males."
Does anyone else notice a startling difference in the amount of black male inmates as compared to other males incarcerated that year? And the population keeps rising. One report estimates the population of black male prisoners to be close to 1 million.
It's not genetic. It's money, it's power, it's education, and it's color. The increased likelihood that a male of color will be searched by an officer means an increased probability that males of color will be arrested. It's not that they are running out killing people, either. And it's not that their lighter skinned counterparts aren't committing the same crimes.
It's a social disease. and to deny it is to give it strength and power.
To break it down, the percentage of men 25-29 yrs currently incarcerated is roughly 8.6 % black non-Hispanic; 2.7 % Hispanic; 0.9 % white.
So tell me how sick and tired you are of hearing about racism and racial profiling and "why can't black men just follow the rules like the rest of us" and "don't do the crime if you can't do the time" and "Whitey ain't so bad."
The assumption that black men are the problem is ignorant. Black men are preyed upon. Prison is a metaphor for the "send 'em back to africa" mentality the dominated the ignorant mindset of earlier generations. Prison is a way to segregate our population. Get those black men behind bars and they are no longer threatening to the power structure.
Which is why opponents to the forced "victimization" of men of color should be campaigning for increased legislation against the sort of policies that enable racial profiling to exist. It's easy to get defensive and fall back on your own crutch of "Hey, I'm white, so I get put upon by all those black folk," but much harder to get up and DO something to benefit your community, which invariably contains some black folk.
I do not know what I will do should I raise a black male child. The possibility that I will is higher than any other possibility. I fear for black male children. They are set up for failure by a society that still sees the black population as locusts feeding off what someone else earned. Being a black man in our society is dangerous. You will more than likely go to prison if you aren't killed first.
White mothers don't have to worry if their child is safe due to their skin color. Women of color, especially those raising males (a whole other set of problems is involved with females), have an extremely stressful and tough job when it comes to keeping their child safe cause it starts as soon as they go out into the world and it doesn't stop. And that child is only safe in his home and sometimes not even then.
I don't want to base this argument on skin color. Color isn't what makes the world go round (though it's definitely close). Money and power and resources are the issues that need to be addressed. Racial profiling is a symptom of that disease. Racism is a sickness and it is perpetuated by our judicial system. There's no way around that.
[My sistahs, if i've left things our or you have points you'd like to add, please hit me up in the comments. I'd love to hear what you have to say!]