When Barack Obama said that if he had a son, “he’d look like Trayvon,” it perhaps didn’t say much for him as a parent. And when the president now says that Martin could have been him “35 years ago,” it doesn’t say much for him as a youth. Of course, we know that "Choom Gang" Obama smoked marijuana like Martin. I wonder, though, did he miss 53 out of 90 days of school and get suspended three times during that period? Was he caught with ladies jewelry, a “burglary tool” and drug paraphernalia in school? Did he enjoy fighting and, when a girlfriend implored him to beat his sword into ploughshares, say that he was going to fight another boy again because “he didn’t bleed enough for me”? Most significantly, would Obama have attacked George Zimmerman, broken his nose, and pounded his head against the pavement? It seems the president is implying he was a thug.
(Aside: On the other hand, if you truly believe Martin was a good kid, Mr. Obama, would you have been okay with his dating one of your daughters?)
In reality, I’m quite certain what young Obama would’ve done if he had been profiled and was alarmed at being followed. Run. Ah, but should a teenager minding his own business (supposedly) have to be profiled? The president certainly doesn’t think so, as he recently said, “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. 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.”
Yes, what injustice. What an imposition. What prejudice.
Let me tell you a story. About 15 years ago, I was walking on a lonely street toward a friend's apartment in a decent Bronx neighborhood (there is such a thing). The only other person on the sidewalk was a woman about 25 paces in front of me. Well-aware of my presence, she nervously stopped, turned hard left, moved in-between two parked cars and remained there anxiously till I passed by, her eyes affixed on me the whole time. Why such a reaction? I can assure you I wasn’t made up to perform in a minstrel show.
She judged me that way simply because I was a young man. Yet she knew nothing about me!
And that’s the point.
Consider what she did know. Almost 90 percent of violent crime is committed by men. If she was going to be raped, it would be by a man. And being a man, I was a lot bigger and stronger than she was. So she was making judgments based on the only information at her disposal: superficial measures. And could I blame her? It’s not as if she sprayed me down with mace as I walked by. She was just applying common sense.
What’s funny here, though, is that we don’t hear activists complain about the “injustice” of sex profiling; they don’t even notice it. People fixate on how Trayvon Martin was profiled because he was black, but it doesn’t even occur to them that a "Tawana" Martin would have raised considerably less suspicion.
This brings us to a question: If it’s okay for “male” to be part of a criminal profile, shouldn’t all other characteristics associated with a higher incidence of crime be fair game as well? And would “black” qualify? Well, consider what Investor’s Business Daily reports, quoting statistics from Eric Holder’s DOJ:
Even though black men between the ages of 14 and 24 make up only 1% of the U.S. population, they represent 27% of all the nation's murderers.
… The administration study also found that blacks of any age are eight times more likely to murder than whites [and note that the DOJ included Hispanics in the “white” category].
While blacks make up just 13% of the population, they're responsible for more than half — 53% — of the country's murders.
So contrary to what Obama implies, the suspicion of blacks — just like the suspicion of men — has nothing to do with prejudice. It has to do with reality.
Now a bit more about profiling. Profiling is simply a method by which one can determine the probability that a given individual has committed a crime or has criminal intent. And many factors weigh in this assessment, such as sex, age, dress, behavior, and, yes, race. This is why complaints about “racial profiling” are as silly as would be talk of “sex profiling.” Because there are only two types of profiling: good profiling and bad profiling. The good variety involves all relevant factors as identified by sound criminological science (and the science of streetwise survival). Bad profiling arises when you disallow relevant factors based on the tenets of political correctness.
This brings us back to Martin. He wasn’t viewed suspiciously simply because he was black any more than I was 15 years ago because I was male. In my case, if I’d been 85 years old and/or wearing a business suit (I wore my favorite leather jacket), the woman I encountered would’ve been far less likely to consider me a threat. Likewise, if Martin had been dressed smartly and carried himself with dignity, he would have raised fewer eyebrows.
Of course, having grown up in NYC, I understand that boys in rough neighborhoods don’t want to dress like Little Lord Fauntleroy (the friend I mentioned earlier, a brilliant man of faith, made cultivating the white-trash look an art); appearing tough deters troublemakers. Then again, it’s also true that many black youths think the bad-to-the-bone gangsta’ style is cool. Whatever the motivation, know that the same thing making you seem formidable prey to miscreants makes you seem a fearsome predator to the meek. “But, hey, don’t I have the right to dress how I want?!” Sure, and a white teen may take on the skinhead look — and then people will make their judgments. It’s fairly stupid to don a hoodie and then wonder why you’re viewed as a hood.
In fact, the “do as I please without judgment” attitude — reflected in Obama’s words — is also something else: offensive. After all, imagine I demanded that women check their brains at the door in deference to men’s feelings and not take whatever precautions are prudent when strange men are present. I don’t even have the right to ask such a thing. Other people’s safety takes precedence over your feelings, Mr. Obama.
And if the world’s Obamas and Sharptons are still angry, they should consider the answer Alan Keyes gave in a presidential primary debate when asked if he’d be upset at being profiled as a black man. He said (I’m paraphrasing), “Yes, I’d be upset. I’d be upset at all the young black men who committed crimes and caused others to view me more suspiciously.”
Of course, the reality is that just as the mouse flees from the Garter snake or the cat from the dog, liberals instinctively profile, just like anyone else. Jesse Jackson said in 1993, “There is nothing more painful for me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start to think about robbery and then look around and see it's somebody white and feel relieved.” Juan Williams admitted in 2010, “When I get on a plane … if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think … they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.” In a 2008 speech, Obama called his grandmother a “typical white person.” And we know now that even little Saint Trayvon, in all his cherubic, golden-toothed glory, profiled George Zimmerman as a “creepy-**s cracka’” and perhaps even a homosexual predator.
And the irony is that if Martin had actually known how to profile as well as Zimmerman, he might still be alive today.