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Racial Profiling

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With Jeb Bush and Donald Trump arguing over whether George W. Bush failed to stop 9/11, it’s worth going to the videotape (47:28) of the second Presidential debate of 2000. On 10/11/2000, the Texas governor denounced heightened scrutiny of Arab airline passengers by airport security. Bush said on national TV:

Secondly, there is other forms of racial profiling that goes on in America. Arab-Americans are racially profiled in what is called secret evidence. People are stopped, and we have to do something about that. My friend, Senator Spencer Abraham of Michigan, is pushing a law to make sure that Arab-Americans are treated with respect. So racial profiling isn’t just an issue at local police forces. It’s an issue throughout our society. And as we become a diverse society, we’re going to have to deal with it more and more. I believe, though — I believe, as sure as I’m sitting here, that most Americans really care. They’re tolerant people. They’re good, tolerant people. It’s the very few that create most of the crises, and we just have to find them and deal with them.

Note that when the future President said “we just have to find them and deal with them,” the “them” he was referring to as having to be dealt with were not Arab skyjackers but airline and airport employees worried about stopping Arab skyjackers.

In accordance with this statement, Bush appointed Democrat Norman Mineta Secretary of Transportation and directed him to root out profiling of Arabs at the airport.

In 2005, airport counter clerk Michael Tuohey told Oprah Winfrey of his encounter early on 9/11/2001 with the leader of the terrorists:

“I got an instant chill when I looked at [Atta]. I got this grip in my stomach and then, of course, I gave myself a political correct slap…I thought, ‘My God, Michael, these are just a couple of Arab businessmen.’”

By the way, on a personal note, this may have been when I started to realize I was the world’s least viral journalist. I’m not sure if the word “viral” had that meaning on 9/11/2001, but if it did, I was sure that the President’s 11-month-old denunciation of anti-terrorism efforts would soon go viral. I vividly recalled watching Bush say this to a huge television audience less than a year before. Back then you couldn’t post video, but it was easy to find a transcript. So I stayed up late that night writing up “Bush had called for laxer airport security” so I wouldn’t get scooped too badly by all the other pundits.

In all the rush, it didn’t get published for about a week. Yet by then, nobody else had brought it up. When my piece didn’t get any attention, well, lots of stuff was happening.

Every few years since then, I’ve brought up Bush’s statement, but it never seems to register on anybody other than my core readers. It’s an interesting example of the Sapir-Whorf effect in action. We are given categories to file facts away in: e.g., Republicans Are Racist; Bush Protected Us from Terrorism, etc. It’s very hard to remember anything that doesn’t fit in the right slots.

This is the first time I’ve posted video of Bush saying this. We’ll see if this makes any difference in the impact, although by now, after 14 years, I doubt it.

Similarly, the big Bush Push of 2002-2004 to ease traditional credit standards, such as down payments and documentation, that have disparate impact on black and Hispanic mortgage-seekers is practically impossible for most people to remember because it doesn’t fit in the categories: Republicans Are Racist; Bush Protected Us from Liberalism, etc.

Here’s a video of Bush telling his federal regulators that down payment requirements are keeping minorities from achieving the American Dream:

But I’ve posted this before with negligible impact.

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We have it on the authority of John Brennan, Obama Administration counterterrorism advisor appearing on the Fox TV network today, that there was “no smoking gun” that should have alerted US intelligence agencies to the attempted Christmas Day suicide attack. [Security adviser: No smoking gun to stop attack, By John Amick and T. Rees Shapiro,Washington Post, January 3, 2010].

So that’s OK, then!

I mean, who could have guessed?

Who could have imagined that somebody named Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab would try to blow up a plane headed to Detroit on Christmas Day?

And how could we expect airline security to notice Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was smuggling a bomb onto the plane when there were all those grandmothers and little children to search?

Who could possibly have known?

I mean, besides his dad, the chairman of the board of one of Nigeria’s biggest banks, who told the U.S. embassy in Lagos on November 19 to watch out for his Muslim radical son.

I’m not sure I want to know how the Underwear Bomber’s father made his fortune. But, clearly, he’s the kind of man who should be taken seriously when warning about his own son’s extremism.

Two days after terrorism attempt, Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano told ABC News, the “system has worked really very, very smoothly”.

Two points stand out:

  • More than eight years after 9/11, we still don’t have an effective computer system for tracking potential terrorists trying to board airplanes.

(Recall how President Obama has been boasting for a year about how his administration is going to cut medical spending by spearheading a computer system to track all your health information. What’s your over-under date on when that gets finished? I’ve got dibs on 2033.)

  • It’s increasingly obvious that neither Bush nor Obama has wanted an effective airport security system.

Effective security would impose a “disparate impact” on guys with names like “Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab” (or, for that matter, “Barack Hussein Obama”). Both Presidents actively worked against profiling and disparate impact. Why? Because noticing patterns is just plain wrong.

Stupidity is our strength!

Since September 11, 2001, whenever somebody with a name like Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab commits terrorism, I’ve been writing virtually the same article about the American ruling class’s pathological prejudice against profiling. (See for example Bush’s Racial Profiling Guidelines Could Be Worse – And May Well Be and The One Word Grand Strategy for Westerners and Muslims: “Disconnect”.)

How big a calamity is it going to take to make them wake up, stop randomly dissipating prevention efforts, and instead focus on those most likely to commit terrorism?

For example, look at this typically hysterical reaction to retired Lt. General Thomas McInerney’s recent advocacy of profiling: Former Lt. General “Goes There”: Calls for all Muslim men between 18-28 to be strip searched, by Joseph Marhee, Examiner, January 3, 2010.(“McInerney is deliberately using inflammatory and incendiary proclamations to incite hostilities. It is simply unacceptable and irresponsible for someone of his public profile to advocate such blatantly unconstitutional and socially dangerous rhetoric into the mainstream.” Yawn).

In contrast, naïve Nigerians have tended to assume that of course their countryman’s shame will bring more suspicion and searches down upon themselves. Thus Nigerian vice president Goodluck Jonathan lamented:

“A Nigerian has created an additional problem for us by wanting to blow up an aircraft … That means that those Nigerians who travel out of this country will be subjected to unnecessary harassments and searches.”

How unworldly Goodluck Jonathan is! Apparently, he isn’t aware that in 21st century America, it’s considered shameful to notice such patterns. Learning from the past is simply inappropriate.

Instead, the MainStream Media rushed to fret over the real danger: backlash.

As you’ll recall, in November, General George Casey’s response to Major Nidal Malik Hasan shooting up Fort Hood was: “Our diversity, not only in our Army, but in our country, is a strength. And as horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse.”

Similarly, after Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s arrest, the New York Times headlined ‘Shocked’ Nigerians in U.S. Express Fears of Guilt by Association After Arrest. (By Mary M. Chapman, December 29, 2009).

Nothing ever changes.

On the evening of 9/11, I wrote an article entitled Bush Had Called for Laxer Airport Security, pointing out that President George W. Bush, in an effort to win Arab and Muslim voters in (ironically) the Detroit area, had denounced profiling during his second debate with Al Gore in 2000. In 2001, Bush’s Transportation Secretary,“Underperformin’ Norman” Mineta, ran a national disparate impact study to make sure airport and airline employees had gotten the messagenot pay more attention to Muslims and/or Arabs.

In 2005, we finally learned that the clerk who checked in terrorist ringleader Mohammed Atta for his first flight on 9/11 admitted:

“I got an instant chill when I looked at [Atta]. I got this grip in my stomach and then, of course, I gave myself a political correct slap.”[“I Was The One,” Interview with Oprah Winfrey, September 12, 2005]

Has any official ever been held accountable for security lapses? Did anybody else even criticize the President of the United States for having worked against airline safety?

Republicans won’t do it because Bush is a Republican. And Democrats wouldn’t do it because their brains would implode if they ever stopped to notice how much Bush shared their values.

Instead, we’ve submitted to a truly mindless system of random airport security spasms.

For example, in 2002, Joe Foss, an 86-year-old retired brigadier general and former governor of South Dakota, was on his way to give a speech to the cadets at West Point, when he was subjected to 45 minutes of interrogation because he was carrying a suspiciously pointy object onto an airplane: his Congressional Medal of Honor.

We’re constantly told by people who think they are sophisticates that profiling can’t possibly work. If we start concentrating our efforts on people named Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, then Al-Qaeda will obviously just go out and recruit as suicide bombers 86-year-old Medal of Honor winners. It’s simple logic!

The government’s initial response to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was in the same tradition of inanity: ban passengers from going to the bathroom for the last hour of the flight. Nobody is allowed to devote additional attention to people with names like Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab—but you can push around the weak-bladdered all you want. They aren’t a protected minority.

The government’s last-hour ban was particularly stupid because a hole blown in a fuselage at low altitude and low speed would be less dangerous to passengers than the same explosion at 35,000 feet and 600 mph, when the air pressure inside the cabin might rip the hole wider.

The ideal place to bring down an airplane with a small explosive is not while approaching a runway, but over the ocean where there’s no place for an emergency landing. (Think of the Air France flight that disappeared June 1, 2009 in the middle of the Atlantic.)

The Administration presumably assumed that locking passengers in their seats for the last hour would prevent Al-Qaeda from using a damaged jetliner as an unguided missile. Yet plane crashes in urban areas typically kill just a few people on the ground—population densities just aren’t that high for unguided missiles to do much damage. For example, the February 12, 2009 crash of a Continental Connection flight in a residential area near Buffalo killed all 49 people on the plane and one person the ground.

Remember the scene in The Aviator in which Howard Hughes wipes out a block of houses in Beverly Hills on a test flight? That horrific 1946 crash didn’t kill anybody.

Moreover, planes are most dangerous to passengers on the ground not when they are landing, but right after they’ve taken off and are still full of fuel. (Jet fuel fires are what pancaked the Twin Towers.)

Locking the lavatories was such an obvious dumb idea that the Administration reversed itself and decided to leave the ban up to the pilots.

Here’s a better idea: Let the captain of each airliner profile the passengers.

Before he backs away from the gate, the pilot should walk the length of the aisle. Any shifty-eyed character whom the captain doesn’t like the looks of, off he goes.

(Somewhat similarly, banks have cut down on robberies lately by having employees greet everybody who walks in off the street. Eye contact demoralizes and dissuades bad guys.)

The media is instead debating whether every passenger should be given a full body X-ray scan at each airline gate—because scanning only people with names like Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab would be worse than airliners falling out of the sky. Personally, having had a few dozen CT and MRI scans during my battle with cancer a decade ago, I don’t want many more. If I were a woman who was pregnant in the first trimester, I definitely wouldn’t want any more.

Here’s another better, cheaper and safer. idea: dogs. You can train dogs to sniff out explosives. (Indeed, the dogs that are the most trainable can be mated to create a new breed, the way, say, the remarkable Newfoundland was developed to save drowning sailors.)

Still, we would never ever post sniffing dogs at airports because that would be culturally insensitive: most Muslims consider dogs to be ritually impure. (Consider what else dogs sniff.)

What’s that? Discouraging fanatical Muslims from flying to America strikes you as an advantage, not a detriment, of the dog system?

Well, that just shows that you are a bad, bad person—who uses his brain.

[Steve Sailer (email him) is movie critic for The American Conservative. His website www.iSteve.blogspot.comfeatures his daily blog. His new book, AMERICA'S HALF-BLOOD PRINCE: BARACK OBAMA'S “STORY OF RACE AND INHERITANCE”, is available here.]

(Republished from VDare by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Racial Profiling 
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How bad are the new Bush Administration’s racial profiling guidelines for federal agencies?

Well, we should be thankful for whatever sensible policies on race we can get from this Administration. So let’s call the glass a little bit full – the guidelines could be worse.

They ban “stereotyping” of blacks and Hispanics (i.e., realism), but they don’t seem directly to impose racial quotas for stops and searches by federal law enforcement officials – i.e. as many whites etc. as blacks would have to be searched. (Don’t laugh – this was a real possibility.)

But remember, we’ve wound up with quotas before without anybody originally specifying them. So we shall see.

The good news: the Bush guidelines actually include exemptions for anti-terrorism work. Roger Clegg in National Review Online enthuses over this distinction (racial profiling against crime—bad; racial profiling against terrorism—good) as simple common sense. It causes him to describe the Bush policy as “perfect, A+, 100 percent.”

This says more about National Review’s new, Beltway priorities than about the Bush guidelines. Over the last decade, about sixty times more Americans have died from normal crime than from terrorism.

And the fact remains that all this racial profiling hysteria is bunk. I got racially profiled a lot last month by the U.S. Border Patrol. And I liked it.

I spent a few days hanging around the Arizona-Mexico border, talking to Border Patrol guards, and crossing into Mexico and back. Each time I ran into a federal agent, they’d initially be suspicious. But then they’d quickly turn friendly and helpful as my traits—6′-4″ tall, blue-gray eyes, light brown hair, no accent—clicked into place against the profiles they carry in their heads, and the answer came up: He’salmost certainly an American citizen.

They knew then they had better things to do with their limited time than hassle me.

Granted, there are Mexican nationals who look rather like me—for example, President Vicente Fox is even taller than I am. But those guys aren’t trying to sneak into America. They like it just fine in Mexico because they, essentially, own it.

In contrast, at the Tucson airport the Transportation Security Administration put me through the usual wringer to make sure I wasn’t an Al-Qaeda terrorist.

The airlines are going bankrupt as Americans increasingly decide that air travel isn’t worth the inconvenience. But at least TSA isn’t raciallyprofiling!

The ritual horror that greets the term “racial profiling” these days is actually testimony to the impressive progress in controlling crime since the anarchic early 1990s. According to the FBI, the number of homicides in America fell from 24,700 in 1991 to 15,517 in 2000.That’s over 9,000 lives saved – or the equivalent of three 9-11′s that don’t happen each year. There are a lot of reasons for this, but aggressive Giuliani-style policing that has put a huge number more bad guys behind bars is a big one.

Now that crime is down, however, our elites feel they can afford the luxury of demagoguing against “racial profiling.”

But there are still five 9-11′s worth of people being murdered each year. And that could easily go back up to the pre-crackdown rate if the cops are constrained.

Simply put, the police can use either of two alternative strategies:

They can sit around eating donuts and wait for bad guys to commit crimes.

Or they can get in the face of potential bad guys and prevent crimes.

To do the latter, though, they have to use the brains God gave them to figure out who is more likely to cause trouble.

And that’s when they get blamed for profiling.

The simple truth is that sex, age, and, yes, race/ethnicity all are closely correlated with a propensity to break the law. Today, it’s not toocontroversial to point out that males and the young are more murderous. But the enormous race difference is heavily censored. According to the U.S. Department of Justice:

“Based on data for the years 1976-2000:

“Blacks are disproportionately represented as both homicide victims and offenders. In terms of rates per 100,000, blacks are six times more likely to be victimized and about eight times more likely to commit homicide than are whites.

“Males represent three-quarters of homicide victims and nearly ninety percent of offenders. In terms of rates per 100,000, males are three times more likely to be killed, and almost eight times more likely to commit homicide than are females.

“Approximately one-third of murder victims and almost half the offenders are under the age of 25. For both victims and offenders, the rate per 100,000 peaks in the 18-24 year-old age group.”

In other words, for homicides, the racial ratio is just as large (8X) as the sex ratio, and race seems more important than age.

In fact, race gap is actually a little worse than that. Government numbers lump almost all Hispanics in with whites. So the ratio of blacks to non-Hispanic whites is even higher. A liberal advocacy group recently extracted the Hispanics from the data and came up with these ratios for imprisonment:

  • Blacks vs. non-Hispanic whites: 9.1X
  • Hispanics vs. non-Hispanic whites: 3.7X

They didn’t report the Asians vs. non-Hispanic whites ratio, but it would be well under 1.0X.

American intellectual discourse has become so corrupted, however, that even mentioning these statistics is seen as racist. So the debate over racial profiling largely ignores the central reality of racial differences in propensity to commit crimes.

And a debate that is based on lies can come to no good end.

Ironically, Bush campaigned in 2000 against racial profiling – specifically against the profiling of Muslims and Arabs by airport check-inscreeners!

Of course, this was because Karl Rove, certified genius, told him to. It was another one of Rove’s minority outreach plans – this one in alliance with long time GOP lobbyist Grover Norquist.

Does the terrorist exemption in the new racial profiling guidelines mean the White House has given up on the Rove-Norquist Muslim strategy?

If so, I shudder to think what it would take the Administration to learn about the folly of the Rove-Hispanic strategy.

[Steve Sailer [email him] is founder of the Human Biodiversity Institute and

movie critic for The American Conservative. His website features his daily blog.]

(Republished from VDare by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Racial Profiling 
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Steve Sailer
About Steve Sailer

Steve Sailer is a journalist, movie critic for Taki's Magazine, columnist, and founder of the Human Biodiversity discussion group for top scientists and public intellectuals.

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