In March of 2012, the Trayvon Martin Foundation was established in response to the killing of Trayvon Martin by neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman. A Florida-based non-profit organization, one of the Foundation’s major goals is “increasing public awareness against all forms of profiling.”
According to its website:
The Trayvon Martin Foundation will use resources and tools to bring social awareness to similar cases. In this decade, we are still fighting some of the same issues that prompted the Civil Rights Movement as it pertains to injustice and racism.
Although Daryl Parks, the Martin family attorney, stated that George Zimmerman’s murder trial was not about racial profiling (despite that fact prosecutors insinuated otherwise), the non-profit foundation named after Trayvon Martin clearly is.
When it comes to using race as a means to profile, America remains divided. Conservatives tend to fight for universal colorblindness, striving to, according to Dr. Martin Luther King, “live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” It is liberals, ironically, who are obsessed with viewing everything in society, from college admissions to academic test scores to the demographics of police and fire departments, through the lens of race, gender, and sexual orientation.
In December of 2011, I received my M.Ed. in Multicultural Education from Eastern University. In a course titled Urban Education, we had a discussion about the concept of “colorblindness” in American society, and its ramifications. I took the position that colorblindness was an admirable goal, and that as a society, our ultimate ambition should be to simply view people as people, not whether they are black, white, gay, straight, etc. This, I stated, would be the highest form of tolerance and multiculturalism — looking past superficial cultural differences to the universal characteristics that join us all as human beings.
The professor used my viewpoint as a springboard into a lesson on social justice. “Colorblindness,” she told the class, “is a code word for white supremacy.” She went on to explain that striving for a colorblind society was dangerous, because when people no longer took race, gender, and sexual orientation into account, society would revert back to a culture dominated by the White Western Establishment. It was our duty as good citizens, she surmised, to be cognizant of other’s differences, so we could not only celebrate them, but make sure they were equally represented. In other words, colorblindness ran counter to social justice.
It is liberals, not conservatives, who are obsessed with profiling. Affirmative action, a policy that dictates we must look at a person’s race, gender, and sexual orientation when making decisions about employment, education, and the dolling out of government contracts to businesses, is a prime example. Amazingly, as the liberal establishment deceptively spins the Trayvon Martin tragedy into a lesson against racial profiling, they have no problem with the fact that the University of Texas at Austin profiled Abigail Fisher, a white woman who insists she was denied admittance into the school because of her race. Liberals also appear unmoved by affirmative-action policies that keep many deserving Asian American students out of the nation’s top universities simply because too many of them are highly qualified.
According to a 2012 article in the New York Times headlined “Asian Americans in the Argument”:
“If you look at the Ivy League, you will find that Asian-Americans never get to 20 percent of the class,” said Daniel Golden, author of “The Price of Admission” and editor at large for Bloomberg News. “The schools semiconsciously say to themselves, ‘We can’t have all Asians.’ ” Mr. Golden says it is helpful to think of Asians as the new Jews because some rules of college admissions, like geographic diversity, were originally aimed at preventing the number of Jews from growing too high.
Just as with Obama’s enforcement of his own health-care law, liberal outrage over profiling is situational.
For example, it appears okay to profile a person when it comes to public education. The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights issued a report that surveyed 72,000 schools serving 85% of the nation’s students. The report used race and gender to profile the differences between students on a wide range of issues including discipline, work readiness, school finance, and dropout rates. In addition, No Child Left Behind uses race, native language, and socioeconomic status to profile the results of student achievement on standardized tests and to rate the overall quality of teachers and schools.
It also appears okay to profile when it comes to awarding government contracts to small businesses (especially minority owned), and when it comes to hiring and firing police, teachers, firefighters, and any kind of state or government worker. It appears okay to profile when it comes to processing a non-profit organization’s request for tax exempt status; or when hiring coaches in the NFL; or when awarding Oscars for Best Actor; or when requesting that the U.S. Department of Justice get involved in charging a person with second-degree murder in a shooting that was deemed by local authorities to be self defense.
It’s not okay, however, to profile a person to protect your own neighborhood and family. If there have been documented burglaries in your neighborhood by people of specific races, wearing specific clothing, and a person of that very race, clad in that very clothing, is wandering around suspiciously in the rain after dark, a community-appointed neighborhood watch captain cannot stop and observe this person. That is profiling of the unacceptable kind (as is instructing that person wandering around in the rain not to dress in specific clothing that may very well provoke misunderstandings with authority). Better for that neighborhood-watch person to go about his business and look the other way. Better to let 100 suspicious-acting folks wandering in the rain after dark break into your house (and continue to dress in a style of clothing with suspicious connotations) than accost one innocent person.
I have no qualms with the Trayvon Martin Foundation “increasing public awareness against all forms of profiling.” So long as “all” really means all, including profiling of the progressive liberal variety.