Los Angeles is one of the most diverse cities in the nation.
The cultural influences minority members have made on this city is evident, praised, and encouraged. However diverse our city may be, its extensive history in racial profiling will never be forgotten. People may no longer be rioting on the streets, but the trust that minority members have in its officers has been damaged. Community residents and police agencies have a tense relationship due to police officers picking the minority to be the criminal. It may not be as prevalent as the past, but racial profiling is still alive and thriving in Los Angeles as well as in other parts of the nation. Law enforcement agencies have its target on their number one suspect, the Latino.
With the passing of Arizona's SB 1070, Latinos are considered possible suspects of illegal immigration. The enactment of this legislation has created a divide among Americans on whether or not being an illegal citizen but positively contributing to society is still considered criminal. SB 1070 has turned our gente into the antagonist.
Thankfully, the Los Angeles Police Department is taking a stance against federal officials requiring the department to detain all illegal immigrants with little to no criminal background. LAPD's position against the notion that illegal immigrants are violent convicts and Latinos are suspects of illegal behavior is a step taken in the right direction to generating trust within the communities that has been lost.
Latinos from other parts of the country, such as Arizona, are not as lucky as Angelinos to be able to display their heritage or cultural pride. If done so, law enforcement agencies will come to question or detain Latinos; using their race and ethnic background to look for offenders instead of going after people they know are criminals. Being a skin color other than white does not constitute as evidence against a person. Racial profiling is an arbitrary tactic used by law enforcement that continues to hinder the relationship between minorities and police, and allows racism to still exist in our country; solidifying inequality and unjust treatment in American society.
The United States is a country of opportunity. It is a unique nation that was fabricated by different minority groups, helping America become a powerful country. It is unfortunate that racism still exists in this nation through the practice of profiling. It is time for America to fully embrace the diversity of its people. It is time we stand together for our hermanos y hermanas and say, ?íBASTA!
There is a proposed Congressional bill called the End Racial Profiling Act of 2011 (S. 1670). It calls for all law enforcement agencies ÔÇô federal, state, local, and tribal ÔÇô to stop using routine stops or spontaneous investigations on a person of a particular race, ethnic background, or religion. Many police departments do not collect data on the number of routine stops made by their officers, or the race of the person that was stopped.
This legislation would force all law enforcement agencies to collect and organize the data have an accurate depiction of the amount of profiling being used by the department, and which officers (if any) are guilty of targeting certain racial groups. It would also require the Attorney General to submit a yearly report on racial profiling based on the data collected by all law enforcement agencies. All officers would have to attend training where they will learn how to be more sensitive to issues regarding race.
Having these regulations in place for law enforcement agencies would ensure the safety of not only Latinos, but all minority members to not be harassed by police officers. The End Racial Profiling Act will create a more unified society and help rebuild the rapport between community member and police officer into a more positive and cooperative relationship. However, there is a lack of support for the legislation.
I am asking you, la raza, to support S. 1070. Just because there have been no recent report of racial profiling on the news does not mean it doesn't exist. We know it does. We have seen it and experienced it in nuestras comunidades. Let's take a stand against racism and inequality! By advocating for S. 1070, we will finally be able to feel at ease within our communities and our own brown skin.
Masters in Social Work Candidate, 2014
University of Southern California