The feds may soon be coming to a police force near you. And if you live in New York City, they’re already present, trying to foist politically correct standards on Big Apple law enforcement.
The proposed central-government guidelines — which a court-appointed federal “monitor” overseeing their implementation claims were made with the cooperation of the NYPD and City Hall — are the consequence of a 2013 ruling that the department’s stop-and-frisk practices are “unconstitutional.” Of course, what’s certainly unconstitutional is federal control of local police, irrespective of whether or not, as the Barack Obama administration purports, the goal is to eliminate discrimination.
The New York Daily News reports on the story, writing:
The monitor, Peter Zimroth, asked Manhattan Federal Judge Analisa Torres on Monday to approve the stack of new training materials that will be presented to the class of cadets graduating in June.
He included in filings more than 75 PowerPoint slides that delve into the nitty-gritty of police work, detail constitutional stop-and-frisk practices — and give remedial directions that, it is hoped, the officers already know.
And what do these guidelines, formulated (at least partially) by the federal government, overseen by a federally appointed monitor, and to be approved by a federal judge, prescribe for the local police? Some rules are innocuous and reasonable, such as “Remember[,] most people are good, law-abiding citizens” and “don’t hassle people for no reason,” as the News puts it. Then there are the generic statements, one of which the News reports as being “Don’t be racist.” This is reminiscent of a line from a purposely ridiculous They Might be Giants song that instructs “Nice is better than mean.” Except that “mean” has clearer meaning and “nice” is less nebulous than “racist.” Does racism here merely refer to bigotry, the embrace of negative opinions about a group that have no basis in reality? Or, as many insist on doing, will unfashionable truths — such as blacks and Hispanics being responsible for 96 percent of all crime and 98 percent of gun crime in NYC — be labeled “racist”?
Speaking of which, another guideline states, “Don’t target certain races because they appear more often in local crime stats.” Is this “target” in the sense of harassment or simply viewing certain races as more likely to engage in certain behaviors? Some critics would reject the legitimacy of even the latter, but perspective is lent by altering the injunction: “Don’t target one sex or the other because it appears more often in local crime stats.” Should men’s greater tendency to engage in violent crime or the fact that most prostitutes are women be ignored by criminal science? If not, why should different standards apply to the races?
In the same vein, another guideline states, “Avoid expressing stereotypical assumptions” such as “He’s Irish but I’ve never seen him drunk” (or, presumably, “He’s a leftist politician but I’ve never seen him pick anyone’s pocket”). But is “stereotyping” being conflated with “observing characteristic group tendencies”? After all, if there weren’t differences among groups, we couldn’t even identify them as “groups.” And would this prohibition include not assuming that every white cop who shoots a black suspect is a “racist”?
Not surprisingly and continuing the obsession with race, another guideline reads, “Do not engage in racial profiling.” Again, though, definitions matter. What does “racial profiling” really mean other than that activists succeeded in mainstreaming an emotionally charged term? As I wrote in 2010:
There's no such thing as "racial profiling." Rather, there are only two types of profiling:
Good profiling and bad profiling.
… Profiling is simply a method by which law enforcement can determine the probability that an individual has committed a crime or has criminal intent. And when making this determination, good profiling considers many different factors, such as dress, behavior, the car being driven, tattoos, sex, age, race, and ethnicity. Whatever the details, however, good profiling is practiced in accordance with sound criminological science.
And because that science has been applied, I continued,
group-specific profiling is nothing unusual; for instance, law enforcement looks more suspiciously upon men and young people because those groups commit an inordinate amount of crime. Yet do we hear complaints of "sex profiling" or "age profiling"? Of course not, as we know that such practices are just common sense. But if this standard can be applied to men and youth, it's only fair and just to apply the exact same standard to all other groups that commit an inordinate amount of a given crime. And when we refuse to do so — when we say that certain groups must receive a special dispensation from life's realities because they enjoy privileged status — that is where the real discrimination lies.
Yet many today dismiss the above argument. When I gave a speech on profiling in Toronto, Canada, years ago and made the sex-profiling/double standard point, an opposing speaker dismissed it simply by saying, “What we’re talking about here is racial profiling, not sex profiling.” It was akin to justifying discrimination against one family and preferences for another by stating, “We’re talking here about Smiths, not Joneses,” as if the double standard’s legitimacy is self-explanatory. But why is it moral to profile one group but not another? If the determination isn’t being made based on the objective measure of crime statistics, what yardstick is being used?
Attorney, former law professor, and admitted ex-Marxist Jack Golbert provided the answer last Thursday: We’re no longer a nation of laws.
We’re a nation of status groups.
Addressing the recent cases wherein the government has punished Christian businessmen for not servicing homosexual affairs, he writes at American Thinker, “Not even the facts matter anymore. All that matters is status.” He then provides some examples:
White cop vs. black teenager: Who wins? You don’t even have to know what happened.
Privileged white males vs. black female: Who wins?
Hispanic vs. black teenager would be problematic because of the relatively equal statuses. So the media invented the status “White Hispanic” to decide the case against George Zimmerman for the death of [Trayvon] Martin. No need to know what happened, is there?
So now we have white Christian florist vs. gay couple getting married. The content of the law is irrelevant. What does your gut tell you about a case of Asian Muslim florist vs. gay couple getting married? It doesn’t feel the same as a white Christian florist, does it?
“Feel” is the right word. Research shows that a vast and growing majority of Americans now make decisions based on emotion, and what feels right today — especially to the elites — is political correctness. Of course, having safe streets feels right, too. But this just brings us to another reason why allowing Washington bureaucrats to control local police from afar is folly: It’s easy to advocate policy that yields unsafe streets when you don’t actually have to walk those streets.