In our society, we’ve been taught to assume Black people, particularly Black men, are up to no good. And so the fact that police disproportionately target Black people can feel justified in the eyes of many, particularly of white people.
Because this sentiment is so normalized, many people who don’t consider themselves racist don’t realize how racist that is. To illustrate why racial profiling is unjust and isn’t just an issue amongst the police, watch this video from ABC’s “What Would You Do?”
In this hidden-camera experiment, three people (a white man, a Black man, and a white woman) attempt to steal a bike to see how people would respond. Unless you don’t believe racism and benevolent sexism is pervasive in this country, the responses probably don’t surprise you:
- The white man was sometimes questioned but not stopped
- The Black man was immediately and constantly questioned with people reporting him to the police and taking photos of him as evidence
- The white woman had some friendly men help her steal the bike because they were just handier with tools than she was
And if you still don’t think racism exists in our law enforcement and criminal justice system, think about why it’s so hard for you to see what is so glaringly obvious.