Sunday, December 28, 2014

Did I Just Racially Profile Someone?

I just went out of my way to walk around (rather than through or by) three teens aimlessly lingering on the sidewalk, one with hat backwards nervously opening and closing a knife with a four inch blade.  Was it at all probable that walking through the teens would have resulted in anything untoward?  Nope.  Nonetheless, why take unnecessary risks?  The one with the knife was about 5'10, 200 lbs (about my size), white, no facial hair (unfortunately for him), somewhere between 16 years old and 21--kinda hard to tell--and not particularly handsome.  That is about the best I can do for a profile.

So I have profiled a teen.  In addition, I have included his being white in the profile.  Have I then racially profiled him?  Am I a racial profiler?  Am I now going to hell?  If I were a black woman and walked around the teens, in part because they were white, would I have been guilty of racial profiling?  I don't know, because it's not always clear what "racial profiling" is supposed to mean or what the argument is for why it is such a terrible thing as this post aptly makes clear.   In one of my next posts I will take a stab at trying to understand "racial profiling" (pun intended, yuk-yuk-yuk).

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