Racial Profiling

Resources

Published: 
Friday, September 3, 2010
On September 2, 2010, the Seattle Times ran an op-ed discussing startling details about longstanding racial disparities in Washington’s criminal justice system. The op-ed is written by NAACP Legal Defense Fund attorneys John Payton and Ryan Haygood. Way back in 1980, Washington state “officials asked themselves a hard question about why the state led the nation in the disproportionate incarceration of African Americans.”  Fast forward to 2007 and you can see how the problem still exists. The state’s own Sentencing Guideline Commission reported in 2007 that African Americans were 3% of the state’s population, but “received 14.91% of all felony convictions and were the most over-represented racial group ….” Read more
Published: 
Friday, July 16, 2010
Most Americans are not “racists”.  Most of us don’t look for ways to discriminate against people who look different from us, and very few of us try to harm others because of the color of their skin. But that doesn’t mean that most Americans live their lives free of racial biases.  As Seattle Times columnist, Jerry Large discusses in his recent article, implicit bias – the unconscious way that we think about people of different races or genders or religious groups – is as big a problem in America today as overt racism was a few years ago. Implicit bias affects the decisions we make every day – who we hire, who we arrest, whose testimony we believe, who gets the better grade, even who we talk to on the bus. And it affects us all.  Researchers at Project Implicit have spent years studying unconscious bias in the United States and have made some of their research tools available online. Take one of their many tests to see what effect stereotypes and unconscious prejudices have on your decision-making.  It is an eye-opening experience.
Published: 
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Last week the California NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) endorsed Proposition 19, a marijuana legalization initiative, which will appear on the November ballot in California. As stated by California NAACP president Alice Huffman, “we are joining a growing number of medical professionals, labor organizations, law enforcement authorities, local municipalities and approximately 56% of the public in saying that it is time to decriminalize the use of marijuana.” Adding further, that “the war on drugs is a failure and disproportionately targets young men and women of color, particularly African-American males.”   Read more
Published: 
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
I spent a week in Detroit attending workshops, plenaries, meeting lots of new people, and discussing ideas. This may sound like a typical conference, but the US Social Forum (USSF) is more than workshops and networking. The USSF is a movement building process where activists and advocates from across the country gather to share ideas, cultivate relationships for effective action, engage in dialogue on how to create "another world" - one that is free from racism, homophobia, sexism, and other forms of inequality and unfairness. Throughout the week, my activist spirit was rejuvenated and inspired – and the energy continues. Read more
Published: 
Thursday, July 1, 2010
  Es costumbre que el cuatro de julio es un tiempo de celebrar la independencia estadounidense y nuestra libertad política con cuetes y carne asada.  Pero este año, hay un sentido mutua en nuestras comunidades que nuestra libertad y dignidad colectiva esta amenazada con la ley de discriminación racial de Arizona, SB 1070.  
Published: 
Thursday, July 1, 2010
    The Fourth of July is typically a time to celebrate our nation’s independence and our collective political freedom with fireworks and BBQs. However, this year many people, including myself, feel that our political freedom and dignity have been threatened by unfair legislation: Arizona’s racial profiling law, SB 1070.    
News Release, Published: 
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
In response to civil liberties threats caused by the passage of Arizona's racial profiling law, the ACLU of Washington issued a travel alert today informing Washington residents of their rights when stopped by law enforcement when traveling in Arizona. News Flash: Court Blocks Implementation of Key Sections of Arizona's Racial Profiling Law
Published: 
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
This is not an isolated incident. The Seattle Police Department has a long history of allowing jaywalking citations to escalate into use of force situations. The pattern is very predictable:  The officer sees a jaywalker, orders the person to come to him, gets angry when the jaywalker either doesn’t respond or argues, and ends up either in a physical confrontation or an arrest for an obstruction charge or both. Read more
Published: 
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
The focus of investigations of gang activity should be on actual criminal acts, not on whether an individual “belongs to” a gang—the label is a distraction rather than a useful tool. Allocating our scarce law enforcement resources on the basis of whether someone looks like a gang member, rather than whether we think someone has committed a crime, virtually guarantees that we will get no closer to solving the issue of gang violence. 
Published: 
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
We’re deeply disturbed by a video showing Seattle Police Officers kicking and yelling racial slurs at an individual of color who appeared to be offering no resistance. We recognize that the video is the subject of ongoing investigations, and it is, of course, important to protect the due process rights of the officers involved. But let’s be perfectly clear—using racial slurs or threatening to harm someone because of his race or ethnicity is never acceptable under any circumstances. Police officers have great power to be the enforcement mechanism of our laws. But let’s not forget—it is we as citizens and residents who delegate that power to them. Which is why it is extremely disturbing to see that power being abused by those in whom so much trust is placed.

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