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Dee Yun: (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2006-05-19 08:43:45
...is an intriguing topic of late. It's a methodology that law enforcement has used since time immemorial - if you roll up on enough poor and disenfranchised people, you're eventually going to find a criminal. It's become controversial again, due to the devastating threat of terrorism. I read somewhere that 70% of African-Americans approve of employing racial profiling to stop terrorism, which I find fascinating. Politically-correctness-trained Caucasians polled at a much lower rate.
Having been the target of racial profiling numerous times in my youth, I still harbor some amount of resentment and disdain for police officers. I can only imagine what it's like to be black. Racial profiling has a maddening, demoralizing, effect. To be detained, searched, and interrogated just because the neighborhood you're walking or driving through is more affluent than you appear to be is infuriating. My experiences with the LAPD and Glendale PD had me scowling whenever I'd see them. Most of the contact I had with them were degrading and humiliating.
The thing is, even evils such as racial profiling don't have to be this way. The Sheriff's department covering La Canada, in contrast, was far friendlier and even cheerful. They'd still pull me over without probable cause, but then chit-chat and even apologize for stopping me. I actually got to know a couple of them by name. Good guys, the lot of them.
My favorite incident was in Glendale, when I was walking to church. A patrol car blares up next to me, and the procedure was on. I was put up against the wall and patted down. I tried to keep a straight face as I explained to them that I was on my way to teach children at Vacation Bible School. The look on their faces as they discovered my Bible, study books, and arts and crafts materials in my backpack was priceless.