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Profiling is not a solution
Posted: Sunday, June 13, 2004

by Linda Edwards

Profiling, specifically racial profiling occurs in the USA to a tremendous degree. It helps the private prison system remain filled with the young poor ales of the society for whom the state pays a premium. Juveniles cost the state $200.00 on average a month. Adult offenders cost $60.00. Therefore more juveniles are arrested, and jailed than adults.

This effectively does three things. First, impressionable young people are placed in cells with adult criminals who become their tutors. They graduate, if they ever get out, to further crime. Secondly, they are deprived of the further guidance of family, whatever little they have, and this makes them bitter. Thirdly, they are barred by law from further participation in the electoral/political process, even before they clearly understood how that process got them where they are, in jail.

As a result of all three above, a sort of genocide is practiced. Their gene pool moves out of the society into the prison system.

We must look at three societies where social stratification by race as well as class produces large numbers of people branded as criminals. South Africa before apartheid ended, and where the rate of spousal abuse and murder is now the highest in the world, the USA where the society continues to import lowly workers to pay a minimum wage, and where the dark-skinned people, whether First American, African American, Indian from India, Philipino or Latin American upholds the bottom rung of the social structure, is likelier to be arrested, to be a victim of crime from his/her own people, and so on.

Trinidad is the third society. We often do not see what is close to us, but it has been there from the inception of the society. Within the society are poor people of every race, who have always been poor; who get less education than wealthier people of the same race; who are less likely to succeed, even if they worked sun-up to midnight six days a week for a thousand years; who get sick more frequently, who are less likely to receive adequate medical care, and who break out in rage and crime more frequently because they have nothing to lose.

Beside them, those that quiver in fear, and in fear of losing what they have gained. Often their gains are not the result of hard work, if that was so teachers would all be rich. We suggest hard work as a way of moving up, forgetting that hard work was what the slaves did, and their descendants are still at the bottom of the society, which sometimes opens a door or two so that the Hudson-Phillips' and the Relph Henry's can crawl through. They are then held up as exemplars to the hungry children, whose protein deprived brains and lack of sleep are predictors of failure in schools where teachers work hard with too little materials, and where the child goes home to be fed a diet of video violence, imported as entertainment from a society where children murder their parents and grandparents.

If profiling criminals worked, Timothy McVeigh would never have had a shot at the federal Building in Oklahoma City, army officers from the US army would not murder their wives, nor torture prisoners anywhere in the world, nor rape little Japanese girls near their base in Okinawa. High profile government officers would not be corrupt in any country, and the criminal poor would not be castigated for being mired in the poverty that is an economic opportunity for so many others to exploit them.

Wherever I have traveled outside of Africa, the dark-skinned people of the world are at the bottom of the social ladder, forming the base of the pyramid on which all others stand. This is true in Europe, Asia, North and South America.

It is perfectly understandable, though not acceptable, that these marginalized people sometimes tip the pyramid in such a way that some prominent people fall into the gutter of death, muggings and so on.

The oil and gas in the soil and sea of TnT belong to the ragged assed poor of Cunupia, Poole, Laventille and Beetham Gardens. Yet it is a truism that a hundred years from now, people living in those areas would still be poor, and contributing enormously to crime statistics. Those in Westmoorings, Valsayn and Goodwood Park and some areas of Diego Martin would benefit much more from their share of the oil wealth, and thus, would also be likelier to be victims of crime.

This is structural poverty at its finest.

No one really wants to deal with these issues. The last thing the wealthy really want is equal opportunity for the poor. If this ever happens, and everyone drove a BMW or a Land Rover where would the status thing go? Who would clean up after us and our children? Who would be able to lord it over anyone else?

So that my friend is why profiling is not a solution.

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