Police rightly use logic in conclusions on racial profiling

To the Editor:

Reading the Yale Daily News last Friday afternoon at lunch with incredulity, I asked a friend how accusing a black person of a crime necessarily constituted racial profiling. He told me, “You have to use liberal logic: If X, then racial profiling.”

Today the News ran an article (“Report finds race profiling did not occur” 12/5) on a police report concluding that no evidence of racial profiling had been found in the case of library worker Bernard Rogers. In anticipation of the many angry, rabbling letters that are likely to follow this “revelation,” I would like to express my pleasant surprise at seeing the police department use real logic, and in the witch-hunt atmosphere we are currently enjoying here at Yale, I would like to remind people that crying racism whenever there is even a slight suspicion of it — the Al Sharpton method, if you will — hurts, not helps, the drive toward racial equality.

Adam Solomon

Dec. 6

Solomon is a sophomore in Jonathan Edwards College and a member of the Party of the Right.

Comments

  • Anonymous

    Even when Chief Perroti of the Yale Police department sends out warnings in accordance with the Clery Act he dutifully omits race in all off his correspondence. In the Clery notices they will give a brief account of the crime and then include a full description of the individual except one vital piece of information, the race of the person! When political correctness causes law enforcement to omit vital statistics of criminals something is wrong. Here is an example of a real alert sent by the Yale police department.

    "The woman who took the money is approximately 5'2" tall, has dark acne marks on face, and was wearing loose pants or skirt and a red turban. Fortunately, there were no injuries reported."

    Uh, hello? Mind telling us if the violent pan-handler is black, white, red, blue so we can be on the lookout for her? I asked a university officer why this information was not revealed, he confidentially explained that "Too many of them would report the crimes being committed by black people" and the university may appear to be racist by having a disproportionate amount of crimes being committed by blacks than whites.

  • Anonymous

    Reading your piece made my blood boil, and yes, I am African-American and anti-racist Your characterization of Rev. Sharpton's "method" is nothing short of a slur. Decrying racism when African-American men are shot and shot at 41 times and 50 times respectively is not demagogical, but a reasonable and rational response to circumstances. Rev. Al was there in Jena to decry the injustice being done to the 6 black youth who were/are the victims of selective prosecution by the district attorney in Jena. It's easy for you to sit back from your obviously privileged position vis-a-vis African-Americans who have been and still are subjected to racial disadvantages and talk crap.

    Were you one of those Yale students who laughed and used the "N" word after its discovery on campus?

  • Anonymous

    Interestingly enough, the e-mail I received from Chief Perotti about 14 minutes ago specified that an attempted robber was a black male. I wonder if they've decided to change tack :) Race is one of the most outstanding physical characteristics on a person, right up there with height and weight, so I think that unless Chief Perotti really doesn't care about telling us who's actually committed a crime (which, given his constant insistence on his being in line with federal requirements, is likely), pragmaticism has to win out over worries of being irrationally accused of racism.

  • Anonymous

    This policy stems largely from Chief Perrotti sending an email a couple of years ago in which he warned the Yale community to be aware of a Black male in his late teens or early 20s. If I had called the YPD every time I saw someone who fit that description, I would have been calling the police every five minutes - every time I walked into class or Commons or my residential college, every time I saw a friend, classmate or TA who was a young Black male. Students protested this because descriptions so vague, and Chief Perrotti agreed with us on this point, help no one. They don't help to find the suspect, they don't help you better protect yourself - they only make every young Black male on campus and in New Haven a suspect of a crime. Understanding this, Chief Perrotti told a room full of concerned students that he would be more careful about how he included race in campus alerts. I think most students present for this discussion two years ago would agree that we weren't asking Chief Perrotti to never use race but to be more cognizant of how he uses it and to only include it when it would actually be helpful, and not harmful, to our community as a whole (I would posit that an increased fear of Black men because of such a vague description in a crime alert is more harmful than helpful) - even I remember the alert that 1:05 makes mention of and wouldn't have protested its inclusion of race because there were other specific details included. But no worries, today Chief Perrotti did include race in his description. So please beware of a Black man wearing a coat in December - thanks, so helpful.

    Funmi Showole SM '08

  • Anonymous

    As the incised anonymous reader writes;

    Quote;
    "Rev. Al was there in Jena to decry the injustice being done to the 6 black youth who were/are the victims of selective prosecution by the district attorney in Jena."

    Not once, but twice the Rev. Al Sharpton has lobbied to convict innocent people. He rallied for Tawana Brawley who falsely accused three of rape, and more recently the exotic dancer who had accused the Duke lacrosse players of rape.

    Please dont construe it as racist when I say that the "Rev" Sharpton does not embody the love, humility and forgivness one would expect of an Baptist minister.

    Lets hope his record of helping the "innocent" bears scrutiny better than his record in helping persecute the "Guilty" has.

    Its a pity that an individual possessing as much influence as he, is more often "Against" something than "For" something, his bias often based solely on race, that sir, is by definition "Prejudice".

  • Anonymous

    All throughout the Internet there are innumerable links which prove that the majority of criminals in our society are white. Yet, they make up only a small percentage of those in prison. And that is because of selective enforcement of the laws.

    Racial profiling and selective enforcement are a fact, not ''liberal logic''.

    Failure to enforce the law on a uniform basis constitutes injustice. And as our Founding Fathers revealed over two hundred years ago -- no society on earth can be ordered or peaceful until it is a just one.

  • Anonymous

    The multiculturalists shrieking “racial profiling!” whenever a white person accuses a person of color are guilty of the very crime they are preaching against. The accusation must have been motivated by race, since all whites are racist!

  • Anonymous

    Like the first poster, I also noticed that, in the 16 months I have been here, this week was the first time I can remember the chief mentioning race in the description of a suspect. Maybe ypd is actually interested in catching criminals? Bravo! But really, who cares about student safety. Political correctness ought to be our #1 objective.

  • Anonymous

    Richar S. Says, "All throughout the Internet there are innumerable links which prove that the majority of criminals in our society are white. Yet, they make up only a small percentage of those in prison. And that is because of selective enforcement of the laws."

    Has the poster ever considered that Blacks do actually commit crimes more that whites. Especially given the difficult to measure crime info for unreported crimes. Or that Blacks simply get caught more often, or lack a good defense attorney, or refuse to make deals because that would be "snitchin'". I'm not saying this because I think Blacks are bad, but the truth is a far greater percentage of blacks live in violence and poverty than do whites. White kids do drugs in their parents basement or back yards, black youths on the street corner. The drug white youths most often use is likely marijuana, where any violence surrounding it is far from where it is used, and will at most get you a slap on the wrist if caught. Drugs like crack and heroine carry much stiffer penalties(rightly or wrongly so) and are associated with much more violence. They will put a young black man in prison for a long time either with possession, or the violence surrounding its trafficking.

    Its not so much a matter of profiling or selective enforcement that puts more blacks in jail, but rather a complicated set of inequalities and perhaps injustices in sentencing guidelines and defense representation for the poor and uneducated. That is why the author of the article is so incensed. Instead of Sharpton being enraged by actual injustices in black communities around the country like access to education and job training that create the poverty, he prefers to stir up public outrage for isolated incidents likely the result of blacks being in difficult situations.

  • Anonymous

    So has Rev. Sharpton, being the fine gentleman that he is, apologized yet for his immediate guilty verdict on the Duke Lacrosse players? No. But profiling white males is ok. Just not minorities.

  • Anonymous

    7:21 -- If we have to bring the Duke Lacrosse case, I am far more upset at the conduct of our former Dean Brodhead than at Sharpton. Sharpton has always been a phony and I wouldn't expect anything else from him, but as a former Brodhead fan, I was truly disappointed by him signing on to the PC agenda at his students' expense (especially since Brodhead knew very well what he was doing).

  • Anonymous

    Someone posted in response to my comments on 12/8/07 at 12:34 a.m. I believe, and directed his or her comments specifically to me: "incised"[sic]. I had the opportunity to see first-hand how Rev. Al is often maligned and wrongly accused by some segments of society while a student at predominantly Jewish law school where he came to speak. Students' mail boxes were filled with flyers (anonymous)decrying and denouncing Rev. Sharpton for alleged anti-semitism. During his speech at Cardozo School of Law to which he had been invited by a Yale Law School Alum, and a very distinguished professor, the late E. Nathaniel Gates, Rev. Sharpton handled himself with equanimity, and with grace under fire. He was also very warm and gracious after his speech, and took the time to speak with students. I don't deny that the Tawana Brawley case was not controversial; indeed it was and remains so. However, that for me does not define Rev. Al Sharpton. I have seen him on the frontline and in the trenches where and when the African-American community and OTHER communities have needed him. I don't think any one person should be defined by one incident in his or her past, but by the totality of their actions over time. Rev. Sharpton as a civil rights leader has been working tirelessly in the vineyards for social justice.

  • Anonymous

    Continuing from my previous post, here are the facts which show that black youths are less likely to abuse drugs. Courtest of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

    http://www.cdc.gov/HealthyYouth/yrbs/pdf/subgroup/2005YRBSRaceEthnicitySubgroup.pdf

    This kind of mismatch between abuse and sentencing is what causes outrage.

  • Anonymous

    "The drug white youths most often use is likely marijuana, where any violence surrounding it is far from where it is used, and will at most get you a slap on the wrist if caught. Drugs like crack and heroine carry much stiffer penalties (rightly or wrongly so) and are associated with much more violence."

    Anonymous poster, if you think this is true then you really know absolutely nothing about the realities of drug use beyond your personal, and apparently suburban, life experiences. There's a lot of naval-gazing and armchair pontificating going on from a lot of these anonymous posters, but I have yet to see a single piece of information. I will direct you to this study:

    http://www.oas.samhsa.gov/2k2/raceMJtx/raceMJtx.cfm

    According to the statistics, 66% of African-Americans (non-Latino) who admitted to using drugs used marijuana, but only 42% of admissions from European-Americans (non-Latino) were marijuana. That means that 58% of the latter group are using OTHER SUBSTANCES (the study does not include alcohol or cigarettes). Get your facts straight, at least your racism will be less recognizable for what it is.

  • Dan

    That link, I find, proves to be very useless. It is a study only of a select few people who were treated, which is certainly not even close to an accurate cross-section of the drug-using population. In fact, this particular study seems to counter the previously presented idea that blacks are targeted more frequently than whites due to racial profiling. If we go by the premise that those who were admitted for treatment were admitted due to legal ramifications they faced for the use of these drugs, you will see that 59% of the people passing through this treatment were white, while only 23% were black. Interesting indeed.