Monday, July 22, 2013

The Black Mirror Reflects On Profiling

Frankly, I’m sick to death of all this talk about profiling.

Everybody does it, even Big Guy:

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And eventually we’re all going to be profiled for one thing or another.

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Sometimes because of our race,

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Sometimes because of our political inclinations:

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And sometimes just because of our color.

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The fact is, profiling has become a fact of life:

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Even I’ve been profiled; in fact, mirrors have been profiled throughout the course of history.

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It’s even worse now though, with the advance of technology. To some, everyone with a mirrored surface looks alike. For example, a lot of people look at me and assume I’m just an iPhone with a built in camera (I’m really much more).

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So they’re always posing in front of me.

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Other people catch their profile in my shiny mirrored surface and immediately think, “That mirror makes my butt look big,”  as if it’s all my fault.

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Other people come into the room and immediately assume that I’m there to reflect them. They don’t even see me, it’s as if I weren’t even there.

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So thank you, butt I don’t think I need to be lectured by Big Guy on what it’s like to be profiled:

“There are very few African American men in this country who haven't had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store.  That includes me.  There are very few African American men who haven't had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars.  That happens to me -- at least before I was a senator.[ed. - verb tense consistency, please!]  There are very few African Americans who haven't had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off.  That happens often.” [ed. - Can I get a syntax check here?]

“Now, this isn't to say that the African American community is na├»ve about the fact that African American young men are disproportionately involved in the criminal justice system; that they’re disproportionately both victims and perpetrators of violence.  It’s not to make excuses for that fact -- although black folks do interpret the reasons for that in a historical context. [ed. - you just made excuses for that fact]  They understand that some of the violence that takes place in poor black neighborhoods around the country is born out of a very violent past in this country, and that the poverty and dysfunction that we see in those communities can be traced to a very difficult history.” [ed. - now you’ve actually justified it.]

Anyway, profiling is just like NSA surveillance, right? And like Big Guy and Ricky Holder like to tell us: “as long as you’re not doing anything wrong, you don’t have anything to worry about,” right?

“NDAA 2014 builds on the powers granted by both the Patriot Act and FISA by allowing unrestricted analysis and research of captured records pertaining to any organization or individual “now or once hostile to the United States”. Under the Patriot Act, the ability to obtain “any tangible thing” eliminated any expectation of privacy. Under NDAA 2014 Sec. 1061(g)(1), an overly vague definition of captured records enhances government power and guarantees indefinite surveillance.”

It looks to me like we’re building profiling right into our legal system. So I say forget about Big Guy’s forgettable pronouncement on race and profiling and tune instead into some other  fine summertime diversion. Might I recommend another TV series: The Black Mirror (no relation)? I think you’ll find it entertaining.

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The Black Mirror isn’t the first Black to launch a series about transformation; or to tap into our “collective unease about our modern world.”

This is MOTUS, your Daily Mirror, signing off. Butt I will be watching you; watching me.

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Cross-Posted on Patriot Action Network