Racial Profiling Term Paper:
On March 3, 1991, Rodney Glen King was beaten senselessly by five Los Angeles police officers purely because he was African American. That’s that. It’s the unavoidable truth. King had eleven skull fractures, a broken eye socket, and severe nerve damage. Four white officers were charged with felony assault, but their trial was moved to Semi Valley, a predominately white suburb. On April 29, 1992, a jury with absolutely zero black members acquitted three out of the four officers, the case against the forth ended in a mistrial. Upon hearing the news of the officers acquittals, Los Angeles exploded in three days of brutal rioting that killed over fifty-five people and injured more than 2,000. All the hatred and widespread revolting lead King to utter these famous words to the press, “Can we all just get along?”
Can we? Many people argue that the reason for the harsh brutality delivered by the L.A.P.D was because King had lead them on a strenuous car chase that night due to heavy drinking. But what you really have to take into account is: does a good reason even exist for such intense mistreatment of a human being? Not once did King raise a weapon to the police officers. Not once did he offer a threat to the officer’s safety. So why on earth was it necessary for the police to resort to such violence that in turn, lead to more violence?
After the ruling, black communities started to wreak havoc amongst the city of Los Angeles. While it is an understandable outrage, their ways of reacting to violence, with violence, should definitely not be condoned. Many African Americans took their anger out on other races such as Caucasians and Hispanics, inflicting some of the same amount of physical harm that the officers caused in the first place.
The unavoidable question is: was King really beaten because he was black? It’s not really a tough question because it isn’t often that you hear of such an atrocity occurring in which a white man is the one being aggressively discriminated against by law enforcement. It simply would be a completely different story and outcome if Rodney happened to be white. The proof of this in lies all around us, in every city and every town. Racial profiling is anywhere and everywhere, whether we realize this or not.
Stereotypes such as “black people are dangerous”, fuel a majority of happenings such as the one with Rodney King. This stereotype also gives motivation to many fears that stubborn people ignorantly allow into their cerebral states.
This sort of phobia lead a man by the name of George Zimmerman to attack and kill an African American teen, Trayvon Martin, for looking suspicious. The key word in that sentence is looking. Trayvon was not acting suspicious he was simply appearing to be so. Thus, this appearance of danger, lead him to an innocent and untimely death. Yet, George Zimmerman is a free man today. He gets to live out the rest of his life, when Trayvon does not. I put this in the simplest of terms to promptly state the universal truth that this is unfair.
It is not fair that all Mexican people are stamped with the title “illegal aliens”. It is not fair that all black people are struck with unfactual accusations of “laziness”. It is not fair that all
Asian people are seen as “bad drivers”. It is not fair that white people are pasted onto the term “racist”.
Here I am, typing on this keyboard declaring justice to African Americans, and defending their rights as human beings, when these typing hands are pretty much as white as white gets. Yet, to many dark skinned people I am seen as an incompetent, prejudice, white girl. And I am only those things because I am a white girl.
The truth is, there are lazy black people. There are Mexican people that happen to be illegal aliens. There are Asian bad drivers, and there are white racists. But there’s also Mexican racists, black bad drivers, white lazy people, and so on and so forth. There should be no label that comes with your tone of skin. Because all races are jerks, all races are saints, and all races bleed the same color.
All my life I have been discriminated against because I am white. This might seem rare, but when you really think about it, how many times have you heard the terms “white boy” or “cracker” or “red neck” to refer to a Caucasian person? It’s all the same: racism.
I have been told many times that my skin is ugly because it’s white. I have been asked if I ever go outside. I have been told that I can’t be this, or can’t do that, simply, because I am white.
It doesn’t make much sense to me, really. I feel as if a lot of people don’t really understand the concepts of racism, or racial profiling. I know that a majority of my class will write primarily about black or Mexican people for this essay, when, in fact, racism does not stop there. A preponderance of people see racism through a small microscope, when, in reality, the world around us is racist.
Racism can sometimes be hard to pin point. It can be even seen as harmless in some situations. It is a creeping virus that goes incognito subliminally through media. It is in the back of our minds, lurking. It is the judgment when we meet someone for the very first time.
Advertisements with companies such as KFC portray African Americans enjoying their product in many ads and commercials feeding to the sometimes humorous, but always hurtful stereotype “black people love fried chicken”. To me, it’s weird. It’s wrong. It adds to the broader stereotype that black people enjoy cheap things, which adds to the even more distinct slander that black people themselves are “cheap”.
Many commercials for expensive things such as cars, homes, boats, jewelry, etc., show white people and white families enjoying themselves in such luxuries. Though this doesn’t seem like much defamation, it creates and adds to a stereotype that is really hard to shake. I’m white, and nope, I am not rich. At all. I don’t have very many nice things, I don’t have a nice car or boat or house or jewelry, yet a lot of people think I do because of my ethnicity. A lot of people think I “got it good” or that I’m even “spoiled” or “stuck up” because of my fair skin.
It’s a new and demeaning advancement in today’s technology that your computer knows your race, and therefore filters in and out ads and information that it thinks will please you. That it thinks you’ll relate with. Truthfully, Google might show me a lot of things that I personally want to see and hear. But that’s not going to do me or anyone else any good.
The term for this search-engine-altering idealistic notion is referred to as, filter bubbles. Upon hearing about this concept in my English class I became, well, quite frightened, to say the very least. What do they not want me to see? What can I see or be informed about? The tension and utter confusion set in when an example was shown: On the monitor were two screens, one of
a white man’s internet, and one of a man’s from the middle east. They both searched “Egypt” and the white man’s search result was clearly differing from the Middle Easterner. On the left (the white man’s screen) showed many articles depicting the resent severe political happenings and mayhems in Egypt, while on the right, many pleasant things appeared, including travel sites, tour dates, site seeing, and so on. Obviously, Google did not want to easily release this sort of information to the Middle Eastern man fearing that he would be displeased or disturbed with what he saw. But no matter how troubling the matter, I’m sure he would much rather choose to be informed than to be seemingly left in the dark and wrongly unaware.
The world is very vast and complex. It contains so much beauty and so much pain, and though we as humans crave beauty and fear pain, what splendor is there to appreciate without some raw, explicit, yet maybe painful exposition? The filtering search engines will greatly weaken our society. How whole is a community if not all educated and involved?
This worrying feature present in our day-to-day lives leaves me to think of censorship of public knowledge that happened in 19th century France. The story of this is long but the ultimate denouement is brutal revolting, and a need for revolution.
I think this whole idea is a very robotic cold one, to say the least. It’s fair to even say that a filtering search engine is cruel. It’s cruel because it thinks that white people want to see this, and that black people want to see that. What we need in our nation now is unity, and all that does is separate us. So, indeed, this is an act of racial profiling.
Do you know that it only takes us seven seconds to make a first impression of someone? Just seven seconds to determine whether we think we will get along with them or not. Seven seconds to construct an idea of who we think they are, or what they like, or how they generally
act. Seven seconds to come to a conclusion if they are a good person or not. Seven seconds to realize if they are physically attractive or not. Isn’t that kind of unsettling? And you want to know the worst part? You’re ethnicity plays a lot into that seven seconds. Your skin tone fills in a lot of those answers. Before you even open your mouth, you have been judged.
It’s really just an unavoidable part of life, judgment. Racism can be cured, but initial judgment is a different story. But what can be changed, is racial judgment. Just because someone is black doesn’t mean they are going to hurt you. Just because someone is white doesn’t mean that they’re going to be mean to you. If we all just gave people the benefit of the doubt, I believe that this world would be a much better place to live in. I wish that more people could see and understand this.
“Image is everything” is a disgusting statement that floats around this planet way too much and often. A person very close to me just told me a chilling story that fits perfectly into what I am trying to get across.
The person close to me works for a very mean and bad woman. She is very spiteful and narcissistic. At a company party, the woman hired a photographer to take pictures of the event to be shared in the company’s newsletter and website. The thing is, the woman also hired a model. A model to be in. Every. Single. Picture. Why? So that they could have a beautiful white person in the frame. Because the model knew how to smile attractively and display class, unlike the other participants. Hearing this made me feel sick to my stomach, mostly because that is a perfect example of the real world. It is a spitting image of what the entertainment industry is sometimes like and it sickens me.
Recently I heard that a commercial got a lot of complaints and controversy over being aired to the public. A Cheerios commercial. Many angry viewers wrote into the company complaining about how in the commercial it portrayed an interracial family: a black husband, a white wife, and their daughter. People wanted this commercial off the screens of the nation’s T.V’s because it exemplified that it was okay to marry a black man if you were a white woman, or vice versa. When I heard this I thought of a picture that I saw recently on a social media site. It showed a black woman holding her black daughter and a white woman holding her white daughter at an airport. The daughters are outstretching their little arms in order to grasp the others hand (complete strangers by the way) while the mothers stand idly, a pretty immense distance apart, casually try to dismiss the matter, to overlook it like it wasn’t happening and like wasn’t supposed to happen.
Why do we choose to do this? It’s not the early 1900’s anymore, people. Does it really make us that uncomfortable to engage in a merely friendly interaction with someone of a different race? I personally think that a lot of it has to do with the fact that we as humans seem to be uncomfortable with engaging harmlessly with a stranger period. No matter what race. I would like to live to see the day that it doesn’t make someone’s heart beat fast or it doesn’t make us sweat to simply smile at someone we don’t know. We need to come together. Only then can we defeat racism and prejudice entirely.
My step-mother happens to be a very dark woman. Though she is a legal citizen, and was born in the United States, she shares with me that she is often categorized and profiled because of her Mexican heritage.
She tells me stories about when she walks out of supermarkets, local politics voting petitioners will purposely skip her and not try to solicit with her because they wrongfully assume that she isn’t a registered voter just because she is Hispanic. They just move right on to bothering the white family behind her. This might seem like a plus, because honestly those kinds of people can be pretty annoying, but it is hurtful to my step-mom.
She also tells me about how when she will go into certain establishments or try to engage with a stranger, and they will immediately start to speak in Spanish to her, assuming that she doesn’t speak English, or that Spanish is her first language.
It’s nice to hear her point of view. My step-mother is actually fluent in Spanish, but she talks more “white” than I do. “Valley Girl”, some call it, which is also a stupid ridicule of a stereotype in itself.
Another thing that my step-mom has brought up to me is the fact that when people are describing her to others, she finds that one of the first words out of their mouth is “Mexican”. Why is this? It’s quite common; we do it all the time. A black man is standing across the street. To point him out to someone you say, “That black guy over there.” A white man is standing across the street. To point him out to someone you say, “That guy over there.” It doesn’t make very much sense.
It almost sounds like in this day and age people think of white people as a generic human. “Normal”, per say. It gives the skin color of white an almost dominance. So wrong. It sounds kind of edgy when first described, but just think about it. Wouldn’t it be weird if a black man was standing on the other side of the street and to describe him to someone you said, “That guy
over there.” Yet, if a white man was on the same side of the street, to describe him you would say, “That white guy”. It just seems a bit off.
I hope to live to see the day that the only place racial profiling exists is in our history books. One day we will look back and realize how closed minded we really are. In a world completely filled to the brim with new generating ideas that are changing the very way we perceive things, we still can’t even seem comprehend the idea that everyone is equal. Everyone gets up in the morning and lives out their day. Everyone has thoughts and feelings and hopes and aspirations. So why do we treat each others so differently?
In the early to mid-1900’s, people were very-much-so aware of the fact that minorities such as, and especially African Americans, were being openly discriminated against, whether it was verbally with the use of terrible slurs such as “niggers”, or physically with the laws of segregation. But people knew, and people acted openly. Now I feel that racial profiling and racism has merely been drilled into our heads with us as unaware zombies.
Generations upon generations hand down hatred. We believe what we know, and what we know and are exposed to is our parents and their parents parent’s teachings and beliefs. So in a way it’s not exactly our faults. We just need to break free from the chains of the past and know what’s right. Many people do know that racism is a terrible thing, yet paired with the fact that they might’ve been raised around the seemingly harmless comments of “white people think they are better than everyone else”, they are unknowingly judging all white people for the nonsense that they caught on to from their parents as children.
The same theory is this: If a man tells his son since the day that he is born that the box that sits in front of him is black, when in reality the box is actually white, the son will sincerely think that the box is black simply because his father told him this. So it must be true.
We need to be careful about what comes out of our mouths around children. A friend of mine told me that when she was young she remembers playing at the park with her siblings. Her and her siblings began playing with their toys with a couple of Mexican kids, when her mother called all her children over. “Go play somewhere else. I’m afraid those kids might steal your toys.” That’s all it takes. My friend immediately grew up with the false notion that Mexican people steal, all because of the beliefs of her mother rubbing off on her.
There needs to be a definite end. There needs to be a stop to this ignorance. How about we make the goal to raise a generation of completely colorblind people? I know the idea is a far off one, and whether I like it or not there will always be some sort of racial discrimination of some kind that I can’t really do anything about. I just hope and pray that people begin to understand that it really isn’t about color, or background, or stereotypes (real or fake), people are people. We are all the same people. We all come from the same place. We all live and die together. “Can we all just get along?”