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Commentary :: DNC
Man Detained at DNC: Racial Profiling: A Commonplace Practice in a Post 9/11 World
04 Aug 2004
I received a group email recently from a former co-worker of mine, a man of Indian descent. While my friend is Indian, he grew up in Ohio and has a loyalty to Cleveland that I’ll never quite understand. At any rate, he became a close friend of mine in the time that we worked together. Above all else, I always admired his passion and open-mindedness when it came to people. In contrast to my unwavering cynicism, he genuinely believed in people. He conveyed a level of compassion and intensity when we spoke, even of the most trivial things and I grew to understand that unlike most people you’ll ever know, he actually listened. It is because of all the qualities listed above that I was particularly disheartened to learn that he had been detained at the DNC as a result of a racial profiling incident. Even more peculiar were the articles I read about the incident. He was seen as “a man who appeared to be of Middle Eastern descent” that was "looking around" while attending an anti-war demonstration. As far as I know this shouldn’t warrant being hand-cuffed, publicly humiliated, and thrown in a squad car. Perhaps it’s because it happened to someone I know, someone with such a big heart, that it further saddens me, the lack of humanity in this act. As an aside, I recall in the months prior to me leaving my former job my friend decided to grow a beard. In part, I think it was to pick up chics. In part, to look older. He’s in his 30s but has a very youthful appearance/ disposition. He used to come to my cube to visit and occasionally expressed concern that others would perceive him as looking like a “terrorist.” I couldn’t imagine that growing a beard would have this sort of consequence and for most of the men in this country I’m sure it isn’t even a concern. As I’ve always seen my friend as very clean-cut and honest looking, I used to laugh off his comment and never take it seriously. Of course I also don’t carry the burden of being someone who could easily be racially profiled and targeted in such a fashion. It’s a sad state of affairs that such an incident should take place during the DNC, amongst the more liberal-minded of the political parties and I’m not sure what it all means. What I do know is that for someone who is merely exercising his civil liberties as a citizen of this country to have such a hateful act committed against him is truly reprehensible. And while I do know he is not in the minority, I also know that in the post 9/11 world, these drastic security measures will only increase.

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Re: Man Detained at DNC: Racial Profiling: A Commonplace Practice in a Post 9/11 World
02 Sep 2004
I must say I agree, in general, with the tenor of the commentary here. It would be preferable if the articles refered to were quoted and referenced with footnotes so further information regarding the exact circumstances could be garnered. It should be noted that though this happened at / during the DNC, that the policy that police follow is set by the Justice Dept. GOP man, Ashcroft. And that in order to get yourself arrested at a GOP rally, all you need to do is wear a tee shirt or button supporting the other candidate,( as reported in the Washington Post last week ) they don't care what your profile is.