Imagine you are walking along the campus of the University of Minnesota. You are now face to face with an armed robber. You give him your money, and he takes off. The police show up and you give them a description. Now, the police take your information and release a bulletin, but all it states is: “Be on the look out for some guy. If you see him, watch out!”
My example, of course, is an exaggeration, but it shows the ridiculous nature of the debate that is going at the university. As reported by CBS 4 in Minnesota, school officials are “working with black student and facility organizations after they wrote a letter to the school’s president about the racial descriptions given in crime alerts.”
The letter, sent on Dec. 6, 2013, was issued by members of the African American and African Studies, Black Faculty and Staff Association, Black Graduate and Professional Student Association, Black Men’s Forum, Black Student Union and Huntley House for African American Males.
It was directed to University President Eric Kaler and Pamela Wheelock, the vice president of University Services.
Students and staff mailed the letter more than a month after the campus went on lockdown because of an attempted robbery at Anderson Hall on Nov. 11, 2013. University of Minnesota Police wrongfully identified a student as the suspect.
The story quotes Ian Taylor Jr., president of the Black Men’s Forum, who said that members of his group “feel threatened.”
“The repeated black, black, black suspect,” Taylor said. “And what that does it really discomforts the mental and physical comfort for students on campus because they feel like suspicions begin to increase.”
The letter then gave 12 recommendations to UMPD Chief Gregory Hestness on how to improve their response.
The recommendations include requiring officers to attend diversity training, and attach a link on crime alerts to the U’s no-tolerance policy on racial profiling.
Ok, so let’s get this straight.. and I don’t care if we are talking about black, white, brown, or whatever. If a bad guy is on the loose, don’t you want to know what he looks like? Don’t you want the best description possible?
The entire issue takes a turn to the outrageous in a story in Minnesota Daily. The entire article focuses on racial profiling.
When Chisom Esele walks around the University of Minnesota campus at night, people sometimes get nervous, walk faster or cross the street when they see him coming.
“I feel like when you’re black and you’re walking on the street at night, you’re kind of viewed [in a certain way],” the electrical engineering junior said. “I kind of understand, but at the end of the day, when this kind of stuff happens to me … it affects the way I feel.”
With the recent string of crime alerts emailed to University students, faculty and staff, the black community has an additional safety concern: racial profiling.
Now excuse me, but aren’t we talking about two different things? Racial profiling is what is used to be suspicious of a particular person in a particular situation based on a history of previous incidents with that type of person. In the case of the police alerts that these groups are complaining about, there is NO PROFILING! The police are going by a description that was given to them, and they are passing it along. There is no profiling at all in that situation.
The story points out that “all but two of the 19 crimes in alerts sent this semester have described one or more young, black males as suspects. The other two didn’t include race descriptions.” So… if someone were robbed by an asian woman, do you really think they would tell police it was a black man? Maybe just for the fun of it? No! The victim would probably want the person to be caught and thus give the best description possible.
The University Herald describes that letter that was sent to the university on behalf of the student and faculty groups.
Co-signers of the letter included the school’s African American and African Studies department, Black Faculty and Staff Association, Black Graduate and Professional Student Association, Black Men’s Forum, Black Student Union and Huntley House for African American Males. It was addressed to UM president Eric Kaler and vice president of university services Pamela Wheelock.
“[We] unanimously agree that campus safety should be of the UMPD’s utmost importance; however, efforts to reduce crime should never be at the expense of our Black men, or any specific group of people likely to be targeted,” read the letter. “In addition to causing Black men to feel unsafe and distrusted, racial profiling is proven to inflict negative psychological effects on its victims.”
I’m sorry, but if we’ve now become a society that is more concerned about not offending someone rather than catching the bad guy, then we have really fallen far. Is there any hope?