is simply a must-read from today's New York Times. His piece is titled Raising the Wrong Profile. It begins like this:
In 2003, State Senator Barack Obama spearheaded a bill through the Illinois legislature that sought to put the clamps on racial profiling. Obama called racial profiling “morally objectionable,” “bad police practice” and a method that mainly served to “humiliate individuals and foster contempt in communities of color.”He reminds us of words from Obama's writings"
“I know what it’s like to have people tell me I can’t do something because of my color,” he wrote. “And I know the bitter swill of swallowed-back anger.”To which, to place it in context, Coates immediately writes
That same bitterness probably compelled Obama, as president, to speak out after Prof. Henry Louis Gates of Harvard was arrested, and to famously note last year, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”Coates then goes to point out how the consideration of Kelly, the architect of both New York's Stop and Frisk program (which he notes has been extensively covered in the Times and which I note is now the subject of an ongoing court case) and of its Demographics Unit, which has sent "spies" around the country to spy on Muslims, some of whom are 2nd and 3rd generation Americans, and which Coates writes
N.Y.P.D. officials admitted in a subsequent court case that the unit’s work had not yielded a single lead, much less the opening of an actual case.(please keep reading)
Coates reminds us not because of the need for those of a left-wing agenda to challenge Obama on his failure to live up to that, but rather the matter of whether the President will live up to his own words (on this topic specifically, although for many of us this is not the only topic where that question can be raised).
He reminds us of Eric Holder's remarks to the NAACP where he discusses his own experience of being profiled, and of Obama's making a personal connection between himself and Trayvon Martin (the remarks of what if he had a son....)
Which is what makes the final paragraph of this piece so powerful, so I will offer that without further commentary.
It was candidate Obama who in 2008 pledged to “ban racial profiling” on a federal level and work to have it prohibited on the state level. It was candidate Obama who told black people that if they voted they would get a new kind of politics. And it was State Senator Obama who understood that profiling was the antithesis of such politics. Those of us raising our boys in the wake of Trayvon, or beneath the eye of the Demographics Unit, cannot fathom how the president could forget this.