LAPD Remodels Racial Profiling And Targets Muslims

By Tammy Johnson Nov 09, 2007

They are coming for us. The Big Man up top says, “We need to go into the community and get to know people’s names…We need to walk into homes, neighborhoods, places or worship and businesses.” They call us a community at-risk and say that they need to moderate radicalization of our brothers, our sisters, uncle Cleaver and even cousin Mae. They are coming for us and we need to be ready. I’m not crying Chicken Little here. It was all over the Los Angeles Times and New York Times this morning. The Los Angeles Police Department has created a mapping project to identify so-called “Islamic extremists” in area Muslim communities. As a result entire communities have been branded as “at-risk” and are being placed under surveillance. “We want to know where the Pakistanis, Iranians and Chechens are so we can reach out to them,” says LA Deputy Chief Michael P. Downing. Whether you call it a 21st century COINTELPRO or the next evolution of racial profiling, this is nothing short of government-sanctioned racism. We must speak up and say that it’s wrong and demand that it stop immediately. Today it’s the Los Angeles Muslim community. Tomorrow it will be Black and African college students protesting against the genocide in Darfur. And the next day it will be baggy-jean-and-white-shirt wearing Cambodian high schoolers tagged as gang members. They are coming for us right now and we have to do something. What can we do? Those responsible for developing and implementing racist programs like the mapping project, must be held accountable. We must send a clear message to Deputy Chief Downing and any other public officials that support these kinds of efforts that demonizing whole communities will not be tolerated. A review of department policies and practices is in order here. And finally, we must state clearly and loudly that they are us. Building alliances across ethnic groups is important so that we can compare notes about what the powers that be are up to and take action. We must not buy into the myths about Arab and Muslim communities, or any others for that matter. The inherit human rights and dignity of these communities must be preserved and protected by our collective demand for justice. So lets get ready for the next time they come for us.