We’ve written on this topic before – Racial Profiling – however, for a group of folks who knew nothing about it we indulged ourselves into the literature, linguistics, word origins, and etymology and we either are plain missing the boat –or – we perceive that most people are using the verbiage without a good grasp of the true meaning of the word combination.
For those of us who deplore any form of negative racism tend to become overly – overly cautious – about the content and context of usage. However, and we don’t mind admitting this it’s just that most don’t know the true and correct meaning of racial profiling.
Therefore, we’d like to start with a question, actually more to assist us in our understanding than anything else – let’s call it word knowledge. Is there, or can there be positive racism? We as well as those who don’t care to admit it, believe that positive racism exist. Now does the notion of racial profiling carry with it a negative connotation or can there be positive connotations as well?
In 2001, the American Civil Liberties Union convinced the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to repay $7,000 that it had seized from a black businessman in the Omaha, Nebraska airport on the false theory that it was drug money; the ACLU called it “flying while black”. A pain specialist who treats sickle -cell disease patients at Manhattan’s Beth Israel Medical Center reported that for many years doctors forced African American sickle-cell sufferers to endure pain because they assumed that blacks would become addicted to medication; Time magazine labeled this “ailing while black.”
The related concept of “shopping while black/brown” refers to the notion that non-whites are subject to increased surveillance while shopping. Other plays on the phrase include “walking while black” for pedestrian offenses, “learning while black” for students in schools, and “eating while black“ for restaurants. Actor Danny Glover held a press conference in 1999 because cabdrivers weren’t stopping for him in New York City; this was called “hailing while black”. The phenomenon was investigated further on Michael Moore’s television series TV Nation.
The shooting death of Trayvon Martin has captured the nation’s attention. Even right here in our areas, it’s brought to life fears for one mother.
The Trayvon Martin case has caused a lot of controversy and has shed light on a topic that many African-Americans families quietly deal with negative stereotypes and racial profiling. For one Mom this case is a reminder of how important it is to be a good parent.
Even though the Trayvon Martin case is in Sanford, Florida, the affects are felt world-wide. “When I heard the 911 call and details of the case, I was so emotional,” said Ausha Jackson.
She’s a single mom who works hard to take care of her son Sam. Like any parent, she teaches him about right and wrong. “I try to teach him about how to conduct yourself in public,” said Jackson.
But the teachings don’t stop there. “She also tells me I need take my hood off my head and have my hands out of pockets,” said 13-year-old Sam Jackson.
“I try to teach him about some of the stereotypes out there about black men,” she said.
Ausha believes she must teach her son “special lessons” all because of the color of his skin. When she looked at the Trayvon Martin case, she feels that could have been her son.
“It’s very hurtful, because I teach my child not to see color. But when he walks out the door that’s the first thing people notice about him,” she said.
The Trayvon Martin case has caused many African-Americans to have that “special talk” with their children. The bottom line Jackson says is to make sure she protects her son from any prejudices society may bring.
“Re-affirming him and letting him know that he is a king. If you continuously put positive words in a child they will internalize that,” said Jackson.
This is the very reason that Ms. Jackson is the receiver of our 1st Annual Parent of the Month award.