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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    Feminist Rant

    Last week I ranted about the profiling that goes on at U.S. airports but did

    not have enough space to discuss the race and age profiling that takes

    place across the country in a wide variety of other governmental and social


    Picture this: a middle-aged white man wearing an expensive jogging suit is

    sprinting down the street in an affluent, largely Caucasian neighborhood.’ The

    man runs by a cop who thinks, ‘#145;He’#146;s out for a run’#146; and applauds the man’#146;s

    athleticism.’ But what if the runner was a slovenly-dressed 14-year-old white

    male?’ The cop might stop the boy to make sure he hadn’#146;t vandalized a car or

    house in the area.’ Perhaps the runner was a 20-something Latino woman, what would

    happen then?’ The cop would probably ask if she were lost and direct her to a

    poorer section of town.’ Finally, picture the runner as a 17-year-old black male

    in urban street-wear.’ The cop would have his gun drawn and the kid on the ground

    before a single word of explanation could be given.

    This is a pessimistic and simplified example, but it conveys the underlying

    truth of profiling. American stereotypes of certain ethnic, age, and economic

    groups have created governmental standards of conduct.’ Once a link between race

    (economic class or age) and a negative behavior (such as theft or terrorism) has

    been forged, every member of the minority is seen as a threat by authorities and

    the general public.

    African-American men have long been subjected to racial profiling, and since

    Sept. 11, Americans of Middle-Eastern decent have also found themselves

    under intense scrutiny.’ That these men and women are watched, searched and

    harassed based solely upon their skin tone and religious ideologies makes a

    person question the validity of America’#146;s motto ‘#145;innocent until proven guilty.’#146;

    By profiling a group of people, American society has robbed them of their civil

    liberties and of their basic freedoms.

    If you disagree with what I’#146;ve said so far, contemplate how easily racial

    profiling could become individual profiling on a national scale.’ I’#146;m not just

    talking about convicts and radicals having files at the FBI, I mean everyone.

    Regardless of race, background or education, the government would be watching.

    They would know what tooth paste you buy, how often you walk your dog, and the

    likelihood that you could blow up a plane, rob a drugstore, or become a serial


    The problem with this kind of profiling, aside from the fact it violates every

    privacy law on the books, is that a person is judged before they have committed

    a crime.’ In essence, the government creates the criminals as well as the

    law-abiding citizens.

    Perhaps I’#146;m just being paranoid or have read “1984” too many times, but in our

    world of internet and magnetic ID cards, it’#146;s not that far-fetched.’ It would

    only take a few small steps and a few quashed civil liberties to turn America

    into a glass ant farm.

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