August 4, 2005

Your Turn: Fear of the Dark


In the wake of the London bombings, a number of op-ed pieces have begun to appear defending the use of racial profiling in random searches and security checks.  This illustration accompanied such an article last week in the NYT. 

What I can figure out, however, is where the illustration stands.  Although the articles recommend profiling Asian men, the panel truck (and the rifle) could just as easily call up home grown terror incidents, such as the Oklahoma City bombing and the Washington sniper.  The shoe might call up the example of the shoe bomber, Richard Reid, who also wasn’t Asian. 

To confuse matters further, the handgun and the kid with the baggy pants (and what about the radio?) might suggest additional domestic allusions — specifically, ghetto references and fear of the black man.  Could that be why the guy in the big (white) tie has taken off running? 

Even if the illustration is ambiguous, doesn’t it contradict the argument that Asian and Middle Eastern men should be singled out?

What’s your read? 

(illustration: Grady White for the NYTimes)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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