cormac: headshot of me, with a subliminal message (idiot)
[personal profile] cormac
In the wake of the failed terrorist attack in Detroit, conservative pundits have been clamoring for the use of racial profiling, saying that it's an effective tool that prevents terrorists, (and they use this phrase almost invariably) "almost always of Middle-Eastern background," from getting on our planes.

Just so we're clear on this, here's a photo of the so-called "underpants bomber," Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab.

OMG how could TSA not tell he was a terrorist?! He fits all the points that conservatives describe in their racial profiling! Why, he's the spitting image of Osama bin Laden himself. Look at how that tan skin gleams out from that long hair and beard, the former of which is tucked into that menacing turban. Look at the robes he's wearing! Clearly, he's an Ay-rab terrorist!

Except not. Not at all. He looks like someone I went to high school with.

Do the conservatives really think Al Quaida is so stupid as to send bombers that are wearing giant neon "look at me! I'm a walking, talking Western stereotype of a suicide bomber!" signs on their heads? Or are they consciously trying to manipulate people's fears by banking that they won't actually pay attention to the facts of the case? (Yes, that was a rhetorical question.)

Date: 2010-01-07 07:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
When Chertoff says that profiling doesn't work, this is what he is talking about. Profiling done right, based on a profile of behavior (tickets purchased for cash, no checked luggage, dad ratting you out for a wacko, etc.), can be very effective.

The "conservative" pundits would appear to be trying to let their racism out in an "acceptable" way.

Date: 2010-01-07 07:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Bingo. Behavioral profiling makes perfect sense, while racial profiling (which is what the talking heads on radio and television are pushing) makes absolutely no sense at all, unless you're a racist or a xenophobe.

Date: 2010-01-07 11:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I would like to see us try to consider "behavior profiling" similar to El-Al security -- look for things out of place, nervousness, etc. -- or maybe the obvious things like "paying cash, one way, no passport" would have been helpful. *sigh*


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