Racial profiling should be banned nationwide.
USC is located in the heart of Los Angeles, in a predominately black and Hispanic neighborhood. The Free Demographics Data of 2011 demonstrates the dramatic differences between the inner-campus and off-campus communities. According to this data, the 90007 zip code, which immediately surrounds USC’s campus, is 58.2 percent Hispanic, 16.1 percent white, 12.4 percent black and 10.5 percent Asian. USC’s campus community, accounting for the undergraduate and graduate student bodies, is 74.6 percent white, 39.1 percent Asian, 24.7 percent Hispanic and 10.8 percent black. Blacks and Hispanics often face racial profiling, and are reported as suspicious persons that do not belong by law enforcement officials and community members.
With that in mind, the question raised is: How can someone make the determination that a person does not belong? What, to them, is considered suspicious or not belonging when clearly the demographic representation of the community is predominately minority?
Until federal laws outlaw racial profiling, members of the USC off-campus community will be victimized due to race or skin color.
Recent media attention surrounding a young black man, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, has shaken up and outraged the nation. Martin was gunned down on February 26, 2012, by a white and Hispanic neighborhood watch volunteer, 28-year-old George Zimmerman.
According to The Nation, on the night of Martin’s tragic death, Zimmerman spotted Martin and followed him in his car before placing a 911 call to report a “suspicious” person in the area. Zimmerman told the 911 operator, “This guy looks like he’s up to no good, or he’s on drugs or something.” Immediately, Zimmerman began forming a biased opinion about Martin. These details leave many wondering if Martin would have been shot if he had been white.
Ending racial profiling begins with the passage of the End Racial Profiling Act of 2011. The goal of the bill is to eliminate racial profiling in law enforcement and governmental entities.
The nation needs to work on getting this bill passed. Racial profiling harbors serious consequences and has claimed the lives of many innocent minorities.
Martin stands as an unfortunate example of the serious consequences of racial profiling. How long before we have to watch as one of our fellow community members is subjected to the same injustice?
Graduate student, social work