Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
Tue, May 21

Talk of the Town<BR>Racial profiling? No, common-sense protections

I read with interest the column in your paper dated June 14, 2002, by Kathleen Parker. She seems to understand the concept correctly. Requiring certain nationalities, but not others, to agree, in advance, to specific requirements for entry into this country has been a fact for more than one hundred years. As an example, we treat three of our good allies completely differently. Persons from Canada do not need a passport or visa to enter the United States. Persons from the United Kingdom require a passport but not a visa. Persons from Brazil require both a passport and a visa. To add a registration and fingerprinting requirement is consistent with current INS authorities and the costs of those additional services should be added to the application fee. Many countries around the world require visas for non-citizens (including U.S. citizens) and frequently have registration requirements for foreigners who visit their country.

The issue of race discrimination is one that is very badly misunderstood. Ms. Parker's comments about the stopping of a driver on the I-95 simply because he or she is black are correct, as this is obvious racial profiling. However, in today's world, lawyers and many others seem to be totally ignorant about the definition of race. The United States Census Bureau, a unit of the Department of Commerce, has a specific definition of what is a race. The current definition, changed for the 2000 census, includes only the following:

1. American Indian or Native Alaskan.

2. Asian (with six sub categories which do not include India, Pakistan, Turkey or any Arab or other country simply because they are on the Asian continent.)

3. Black or African American.

4. Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander.

5. White.

The Census bureau has also included an ethnicity category within the white race. Ethnicity is not considered a matter of race, but one of national origin (in this case Hispanic/Latino or non-Hispanic/Latino). Clearly, there is no category in the race definitions of the Census Bureau for Arab, Jew or other ethnic group from that region. (Please see their Web site for further information.) Requiring potentially high-risk people to meet a higher level of standards is completely consistent with both our Constitution and the Bill of Rights. A simple, but unrelated, example is the standards, including fingerprinting and background checks for our public school teachers. We have similar requirements for law enforcement personnel. I do not see the ultra-liberals standing on the street corner protesting those requirements that directly affect the safety of all of our children. Those requirements are there for a purpose; to provide protection to the population. Registration of any potentially high-risk group is one of those protections.

(James R. Jardine is a Prescott resident.)

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