Friday, July 18, 2008

AAA Endorses the End Racial Profiling Act

As recently reported by the Associated Press, rules being considered by the Justice Department may permit the FBI to institute new guidelines allowing the agency to investigate Americans based upon their race, ethnicity, religion, and/or travel patterns. Not only is this a violation of basic civil rights, but it stems from and helps propagate negative stereotypes and inequalities that pervade American society. AAA has written to both Senate and House Judiciary Committees calling for them to take action on the End Racial Profiling Act of 2007 (HR 4611; S 2481), which is currently awaiting subcommittee review.

As anthropologists are well aware, present-day “racial” inequalities are the products of historical and contemporary social, economic, educational, and political circumstances. It is a basic tenet of anthropological knowledge that human beings have the capacity to learn any cultural behavior. The proposed FBI guidelines would condemn individuals to certain practices based solely upon their physical characteristics. Readers are encouraged to write to the Judiciary Committees regarding this issue. Please feel free to use our letters as a template.