Home > National News > Racial Profiling is Okay – But Not Really

Racial Profiling is Okay – But Not Really

Sadia Noor

The shooting of livery cab driver Trevor Bell last Friday in Queens by a young Hispanic male has opened up more than a criminal investigation – it’s sparked a conversation about one of the most controversial issues in America today.

Although the shooting is tragic and senseless in itself, the incident is being given a lot of media coverage for a very different reason. In fact, it seems like I can’t indulge in my seamy late night local news sessions without hearing the same quote over and over again. In a news conference about the shooting, Fernando Mateo, president of the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers and President of Hispanics Across America, offered this golden quote:

“I don’t care about racial profiling. You know sometimes it‘s good that we are racially profiled because the God’s-honest truth is that 99 percent of the people that are robbing, stealing, killing these drivers are blacks and Hispanics.”

Whoa. Did you hear that whistling sound? That was political correctness flying out the window.

Ignoring the fact that Mateo’s statistics are pulled straight out of a MadLib (99% of taxi crimes are not committed by blacks and Hispanics), Mateo’s words could have a very big impact on the racial profiling debate going on right now, especially considering the heat of the discussion on TSA screenings.

If a Hispanic man in a position of authority says it’s okay for not only authority figures like the TSA and the police to racially profile, but the average Joe taxi driver to pick and choose passengers based on their appearance, then the implications are pretty intense. Will racial profiling aid in cutting down on crime?  Or will it just promote discrimination and set us back a couple decades in terms of equality?

Personally, I think it’s the latter. Identifying a problem (that minorities have higher crime rates) and pushing it away (denying them taxi rides) is only fueling the fire, not extinguishing it. I also think Mateo is not nearly as big of a public figure to cause any major shockwaves. But regardless, his words are out there and in attention – let’s just hope no one puts them into practice.

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