It seems that racial profiling discussions are back on the legislative agenda. Last week Assistant Majority Leader and Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) chaired a hearing on racial profiling in America – the first hearing on the issue in over a decade. Below is an excerpt from Sen. Durbin’s website:
“African Americans continue to face racial profiling on the streets and sidewalks of American cities. Since 9-11, Arab-Americans, American Muslims, and South-Asian Americans have faced national origin and religious profiling. And a recent spate of federal, state, and local measures has subjected Hispanic Americans to an increase in racial profiling under the guise of combating illegal immigration.” Durbin said. “Racial profiling undermines the rule of law and strikes at the core of our nation’s commitment to equal protection for all.”
(The complete article is here http://durbin.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/pressreleases?ID=a8191909-fc81-4f66-bbb5-285e763f35e8).
Ten years since the last one, wow. I wonder what’s been going on for the past ten years. I also wonder how many of us even knew there was a hearing.
Last week was also National End Racial Profiling Advocacy Week. The event was sponsored by: the American Civil Liberties Union, The Leadership Conference, the NAACP, and the Rights Working Group and Co-sponsored by: the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, Muslim Advocates and South Asian Americans Leading Together. http://www.rightsworkinggroup.org/AdvocacyWeek2012.
As pleased that I am that racial profiling is back on the national agenda, I’m concerned about what happens next. Will we have to wait another ten years before another hearing happens? Was this hearing to placate the “masses” in light of recent events involving racial profiling?
Skepticism aside, if indeed this issue is on the legislative agenda, we need to act now and get involved.
Ernest R. Heyward is the Founder and President of the Marketplace for Social Awareness and Social Responsibility Inc.