During lunch today at A. J.’s Cafe, I was reading an article in the New York Times titled “Police Monitoring and a Climate of Fear,” While taking photos of the story with my phone, I realized that the couple sitting next to me were trying to figure out why I would be taking pictures of the newspaper. I get that I can find the same article online, but for whatever reason, I like taking pics of interesting articles so I can review later, and maybe I do it because sometimes I just can’t believe what I am reading and I need proof of what was actually written…yeah, I know. Back to the article…
“Last week, The Associated Press broke the news that the Intelligence Division of the New York police had extended its writ hundreds of square miles east and west, carefully detailing mosques, dollar stores and restaurants, from Konak’s Turkish Cuisine in Farmingville, on Long Island, to a Jordanian luncheonette on the western edge of Newark. They carefully recorded names, license plates and nationalities.
Another Associated press report found that undercover city officers kept a close eye on Muslim students at Yale, Columbia, Syracuse, Rutgers, New York University, Brooklyn College and public state universities. One officer took a white-water rafting trip with students; he reported they prayed five times a day. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly sounded aggressively uninterested in apology. “Everything the NYPD has done is legal,” the mayor said. As for the complaints of Yale’s president? “I don’t know,” Mr. Bloomberg said, “why keeping the country safe is antithetical to the values of Yale.”
It’s been more than a decade since terrorists attacked New York City, crashing airplanes into the World Trade Center, and it appears that much of our efforts in preventing a future attack of terrorism revolves around racial profiling. In the past 20 years, I can think of 129 confirmed white terrorists in our country. (125 men that have bombed family planning clinics, Timothy McVeigh, Terry Nichols, the Unabomber, and Eric Rudolph…all of which are white men) But yet, we focus our policing efforts on the surveillance of 700 million Arabs or 1.5 billion Muslims on our planet because of the terrorist acts of 19 Arab Muslims. How does this make sense? How can Mayor Bloomberg possibly believe that the best way to keep our country safe is to target these individuals?
The next article I read during lunch detailed the school shooting that took place in Ohio yesterday. More children have been killed at the hands of a white, teenage gunman. Over and over and over again, the “profile” remains the same; a profile that we continue to ignore.
Tim Wise, antiracist author and educator, noted the following in 2001 after another deadly school shooting: ”I’d like to think that after this one, people would wake up, take note, and rethink their stereotypes of who the dangerous ones are. But deep down, I know better. The folks hitting the snooze button on this none-too-subtle alarm are my own people after all, and I know their blindness like the back of my hand.”