10th grade, School of Information Technology at Eastside High School
[Honorable mention, 9th and 10th grade contest]
As I walked into the room, all eyes turned. Babies, children, adults, and even the walls were staring back at me. They contemplated on my existence and did not once take their eyes off of me. Usually this would be perceived as rude, but with wide eyes I was able to see that this problem reigns everywhere.
Places like Arizona, Texas, California, and New York are now adopting stop and frisk laws. However, this isn’t normal--it’s a social injustice. Racial profiling is a problem that occurs all the time. From Chinese to African American to Italian to Portuguese, we should all be viewed equally and as members of the human race. Whether it’s our traditional background or statistical status, it shines a light of diversity within America. Racial Profiling is profoundly based on outside appearance. According to the New York Civil Liberties Union’s web page, “Racial profiling is when race, ethnicity, religion, or origin is used for police enforcement to openly arrest, investigate, and detain people”.
Isn’t it sad how ones outside appearance can create uncertainty in the eyes of the police? The stop and frisk laws that have been passed all across America show how character doesn’t mean much as long as you look the part. In New York, innocent Latino and African American pedestrians are being stopped and stripped of their privacy for a search performed by police. This is ridiculous and has been more prevalent now than ever.
The police in New York and other states claim that “Stop and Frisk” helps keep guns off the streets and reduces the murder rate. That may be true, but there are other ways to keep guns off the streets. Many cities have had very successful gun buyback programs where citizens turn in their guns (no questions asked) for money.
Tiger Wood has said “Hockey is a sport for white men. Basketball is a sport for black men. Golf is a sport for white men dressed like pimps.” (brainyquote) This quote shows that people adapt to different settings differently. Stereotypes suggest that certain ethnicities would have a certain job, a certain luxury in life, or commit a certain crime, but that’s not the case. Ethnicities aren’t just made up of one person but of a group of different people with different interests and experiences. This suggests the idea that we are all different and that each and every one of us has something to offer to this world, whether good, bad, or ugly. This is why matching a certain ethnicity to a crime is wrong because you’re categorizing a person as a criminal based on the color of their skin. As we choose to do so, we waste time because we should really be trying to figure out who has committed a crime.
According to the One America Foundation in the article, "Racial Profiling: Face the Truth Campaign,” the only way we can resolve this problem is by Congress imposing the “End Racial Profiling Act.” I believe that the Obama administration needs to support this action and also purge Homeland Security policy that is also is a contributing factor that supports racial profiling. However, we cannot put pressure on Congress unless we put pressure on ourselves.
This problem will not be solved until we “the people” decide to lift the banner for equality. Everyone deserves a chance to show who they are and unfortunately people are being thrashed based on race instead of character. By our actions, we release anger and frustration and bring us back closer to slave time because we create great diversity instead of unity. After all, “A nation or civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on an installment plan.” (quotationsbyauthor.com) Those are the words of Dr. Martin Luther King’s, Jr., words and beliefs that today’s leaders should remember and take heed of as they find the courage to face and remedy the problem of racial profiling.
BrainyQuote. Xplore, Tiger Woods, n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2013. "Quotations by Author." Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2013. "Racial Profiling: Face the Truth Campaign." Home Page. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2013. "Stop and Frisk Practices | New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) - American Civil Liberties Union of New York State." Stop and Frisk Practices | New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) - American Civil Liberties Union of New York State. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2013.