Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Ignorance at its best

There’s a little controversy going on in the city of Palo Alto, Calif. It’s there that police Chief Lynne Johnson is being accused of racial profiling.

During a community meeting to discuss a rash of robberies and burglaries the city was seeing, the chief said "We do not want to create an environment of fear for people of color in this community … but on the other hand, we have to do due diligence in trying to apprehend the suspects who are doing this."

After the gathering, she told a local radio station she had instructed her officers to make contact with blacks in her city.

"When our officers are out there and they see an African-American, in a congenial way, we want them to find out who they are."

Because the descriptions of the suspects are so vague, local residents, primarily those of color, have charged her with racial profiling. Even Palo Alto Mayor Larry Klein called Johnson's statements "unacceptable."

The chief has publicly apologized and tried explain her thought process in making the decision to target blacks in the area. Some people said they have accepted her apology.

The entire situation is sad and unfortunate, but what bothers me is that this morning, during a local news program, City Manager James Keene – who has characterized Johnson's remarks as regrettable “misstatements" – said he was the one to tell Johnson to publicly admit her error, I’m sure in part, to not further diminish the reputation of Palo Alto.

It was bad enough that Johnson felt that by having officers talk to every African-American male they would be sure to nab the culprit(s). But she had to be told to apologize?

In this day and age, it’s sad that ignorance is so rampant.

1 comment:

dancingant said...

I find this situation sad, also. But what I find even sadder is that in this day and age there are still people who will find nothing wrong with Chief Johnson's rationale.

Ignorance may be bliss but can be hurtful...not to mention just plain frustrating for those on "receiving" end of the ignorant act.