What Do You Think?

What is 'institutionalized racism' and why is it potentially much more harmful than a single individual's racist beliefs?

"Today skin color makes you a suspect in America. It makes you more likely to be stopped, more likely to be searched, and more likely to be arrested and imprisoned."
-- American Civil Liberties Union, December, 2001

"'Driving while black' is a term coined by civil rights advocates to indicate racial profiling of African Americans. But in recent years, 'flying while Arab' has entered the vocabulary."
-- Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press, October 24, 2001

How does racial profiling go against the American principle of assuming someone is innocent until proved guilty?

"The Justice Department has instructed law enforcement agents across the country to 'interview' more than 5,000 immigrants based not on any evidence that they are connected to Al Qaeda or the events of September 11 but solely on their age, gender and country of origin."
-- Comment, The Nation, December 7, 2001

"Is it relevant to know all that information about where people have traveled in the country if these people are innocent? You're either a suspect of a crime, or sort of suspicious because you're Middle Eastern. We cannot go on that distinction. These people are as innocent as you and me."
-- Jeff Rogers, Portland oregon City Attorney, November 30, 2001

How would you compare negative attitudes towards immigrants with the famous inscription on the Statue of Liberty?

Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door.
- Excerpt from "The New Colossus," by Emma Lazarus, inscribed on the Statue of Liberty, New York City, USA

Was this sentiment representative of attitudes in the United States in 1901, when the poem was added to the statue? To whom was this sentiment applied?


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