Racial profiling: Racist, or a necessary police tool?

Regarding the Aug. 4 article, "Mayor's tough tack on crime stirs up racial sensitivities": Yes, there are cases of unfair assumptions and treatment of blacks by white police officers.

But the foolish notion that "racial profiling" is a vicious practice somehow meant to oppress and intimidate blacks is absurd.

If, in a city such as Jackson, Miss. where the majority of residents are black, and if, as elsewhere, young black men commit an inordinate amount of the criminal acts in the community, then to target more young black men late at night driving about different areas where crimes have been frequent seems to make sense, does it not? If most crimes were being committed by middle-aged white men, I'd expect more car stops of middle-aged white men.

In Atlanta, during the series of child murders years ago, I was stopped several times by police officers because they had a profile indicating that a lone, young, white male was probably the perpetrator. I had no problem with that; it just made sense.

This was especially true when I happened to drive through a neighborhood that was predominantly black. I did not look like I fit in, so I was of interest to the police.

I was not insulted or mistreated by police, but they did want to eyeball me, and as far as I was concerned, they were doing their job.

Presently, I live in a neighborhood where about 10 percent of the families are black. A number of thefts and break-ins have occurred lately, and all indications are that black men have been doing this.

Does this mean I take a closer look when I see black men driving through whom I do not personally know? Of course; I'd be an idiot not to.

Does this stem from some racist core of my nature? It is likely that my black neighbors eye such individuals more closely, just as I do. None of us likes to be stolen from – neither blacks nor whites.
Lewis Murray
Stone Mountain, Ga.

Obrador is right to demand a recount

Regarding the July 7 article, "Obrador rejects recount": I applaud the efforts of Andrés Mauel Lopéz Obrador. This is something similar to what Al Gore should have done back in the election of 2000. Like it or not, one thing that trumps capitalism and political correctness in this country is the right to have one's vote counted. Obrador is not the one charting a reckless course; rather, it is those who may have engaged in fraud to prevent the will of the people from being heard. They are the ones who must demonstrate the rule of law over the rule of the mob. Until then, keep the protest going until every Mexican vote is counted.
Joe Bialek

Casual carpooling catches on

Regarding the Aug. 15 article, "Where the fastest commuters are ... 'slugs' ": The article indicates that "slugging" has only been going on in D.C. since 1995. Here in the San Francisco Bay area, it's been going on for at least a couple decades, but we refer to it as "casual carpooling." It's sort of the modern version of hitchhiking, which may be why it caught on here more quickly than elsewhere. What strikes me as noteworthy is that this simple solution to a big problem hasn't in any way inspired local transit agencies to plot the routes and offer everyone concerned an inexpensive (and potentially less risky) alternative. But then the risk of casual carpooling doesn't seem to be very high. The worst I've experienced are a few white-knuckle trips across the Bay Bridge with a couple of SUV drivers who tailgate at 65 m.p.h.
Nicola Bourne
Berkeley, Calif.

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