Friday, September 16, 2005

Student Newspaper Articles BAD doesn't have time for

I thought I'd help BAD out by picking a newspaper article to make fun of. This one comes from The Daily Tar Heal and seems to revolve around the idea that, if only everybody would talk about racial profiling, surely we would all agree with her when she says:
I want all Arabs to be stripped naked and cavity-searched if they get within 100 yards of an airport.

Now, let's not get into the fact that she seemed to misrepresent herself to the Arabs she "quotes" as supporting her views. And let's not mention how she seems to conflate Arab foreigners, who already face higher security restrictions, and Arab-Americans. Let's actually talk about racial profiling and whether it provides any defense. I think Yglesias pretty much sums up my thinking on the subject:

Someone probably knows how to tell a Chechen from an Armenian, or a Malaysian from a Thai on sight, but it sure isn't me, and it almost certainly isn't your local cop, either. And if you can't see why the idea of law-enforcement personnel spending their times consulting old phrenology texts to pick up on the fine-grained differences, you must be brain-dead. Leaving 8-year-olds out of strip searches is probably a good idea, but in my experience, airport security personnel, at a minimum, do this to anyone.
You see, the problem isn't that we Americans have some kind of Victorian aversion to discussing race (Conservatives sure don't and some Liberals talk about it even when it doesn't make sense) the problem is that it's just an unworkable idea. Conservatives have done a great job pushing their ideas into the mainstream. Hell, thanks to Michelle Malkin we've discussed it to death. We've even discussed internment! (But of course Malkin would never suggest that for Arabs, she just wants to defend it in general for no good reason).


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