Editor’s note: This story was written by a high school student in Northwest Asian Weekly Foundation’s Summer Youth Leadership Program. This story is part of a special back-to-school issue.
By Kevin Jin
Many think that racial profiling ended along with racism when all Americans, regardless of color, were given equal rights. However, that is not the case. One of the most recent examples was when Arizona passed a law that allowed officers to stop people that are suspected as illegal immigrants. Now, considering Arizona is right by Mexico, and Mexico is the source of most of the United States’ illegal immigrants, this law is obviously targeting Mexicans.
There is also racial profiling targeted at Asians. Racial profiling is not something to take lightly, and it shouldn’t be joked about. Racial profiling is also used outside of the world of law enforcement. This fosters stereotypes and suspicions people have of a certain race.
Take 9/11 for example. After this event occurred, everybody became suspicious of Muslims. All Muslims were being judged by the actions of only a few.
Would it be fair to judge all Americans based on a few individuals? One of our guest speakers this year at SYLP, Andrew Cho, presented examples of racial profiling.
One example was of an Asian man who had recently gone through much distress. He moaned about it in his apartment until his neighbors complained to the police. When the police arrived, they ended up shooting him to death because they thought that he knew kung fu and was a danger to them. They said that the shooting was in self-defense.
Imagine being shot to death simply because you’re Asian and the shooter thought you knew and would use martial arts.
Another event took place right here in Chinatown. A group of Asian American students were caught “jaywalking” by an officer. The first instance of racial profiling in this case was when the officer asked if they spoke English. He was very condescending to the group of students.
He even had the students line up against the wall and even searched one for weapons. He ended up writing a jaywalking citation to one of the students. When this was taken to court, the offending officer explained that he did indeed find weapons on the student — that he had found keys, a very dangerous object. In the end, the judge ruled that since the officer stated that he did not see any jaywalking, no crime had been committed.
Racial profiling is a very serious matter that should not be taken lightly. Though racism is illegal in the United States, it still exists through stereotypes and racial profiling. The roots of the problem are racism and stereotyping, which are the causes of racial profiling.
As Asians, we need to show the world that we are not all the same. Having fewer stereotypes leads to less racism, and less racism leads to less racial profiling. ♦