The End Racial Profiling Act (2001, 2004, 2007, 2010, 2011), or ERPA for short, would outlaw racial profiling – where the police stop you because of your race. It is a common experience for black and Native American men and, increasingly, for Latinos and those who look “Muslim”.
- Outlaw profiling by race, religion, ethnicity or national origin by police and other law enforcement at all levels of government. It would become a crime!
- Provide training to make profiling less common.
- Provide the right to sue, making it easier to take profilers to court.
- Require progress reports on profiling from the Justice Department.
It has yet to pass Congress.
Racial profiling underlies the murder of Trayvon Martin, the Japanese American internment, New York’s “stop and frisk” policy, driving while black, Arizona’s SB 1070, the Wen Ho Lee case, the mass incarceration of black men, etc.
The FBI does it. So does the DEA (drugs). So does the TSA at airports. It goes back to the slave patrols, out of which both the Klan and American policing grew. Charles Chesnutt wrote about it in 1905. It was largely unaffected by the civil rights reforms of the 1960s. Lately it has been strengthened by Islamophobia and anti-immigrant feeling.
- Of domestic terrorists 94% are – not Muslim.
- Whites use and sell drugs at about the same rate as blacks and Latinos.
- The DEA stopped Boni Rhodes-Berg as a suspected drug dealer because she was black. When they searched her bags they found – a Bible.
- The NYPD stops over a half million people a year under its “stop and frisk” policy. Nearly 90% are black or Latino. They find no guns 99.8% of the time.
- Profiling creates distrust of police in communities of colour, making it harder to fight crime.
Barack Obama has himself been racially profiled. As senator he was an ERPA sponsor. But since 2009 he has gone silent, keeping the toothless Bush policy: the 2003 “Guidance Regarding the Use of Race and Ethnicity by Federal Law Enforcement Agencies” – which he could change without Congress.
Media guide: websites ranked by their use of “End Racial Profiling Act”:
- 15,800: ACLU
- 4,940: CAIR (Muslim)
- 348: SALDEF (Sikh)
- 338: Change.org
- 324: Twitter
- 287: Rights Working Group
- 234: The Leadership Conference
- 143: Tumblr
- 110: Huffington Post
- 65: SAALT (South Asian)
- 62: Daily Kos
- 56: Ebony
- 50: BET
- 48: Colorlines
- 42: NAACP
- 34: National Review
- 16: USA Today
- 8: Jack & Jill Politics
- 7: The Root, The Hill
- 6: New York Times, Amnesty International
- 5: CNN
- 4: Washington Post, The Nation, The Grio, Center for Constitutional Rights
- 3: Politico, NPR
- 2: ABC News, Truthout, Racialicious, the White House
- 1: BBC, Fox News, Democracy Now, New York Post, Yahoo! News, The Daily Beast/Newsweek, American Enterprise Institute, Truthdig, Wall Street Journal, News One, Village Voice, Salon, SPLC, PolitiFact
- 0: Wikipedia, CBS News, MSNBC, The Economist, Al Jazeera, New York Daily News, The New Republic, Time, The Guardian, New Yorker, ZNet, Nerdland, Weekly Standard, The Atlantic, Harper’s, Slate, Talking Points Memo, Think Progress, Essence, Crew of 42, Amsterdam News, Clutch, Color of Change, National Urban League