Racial profiling is nothing new to the Black community, but other cultures seem to dismiss the incidents, its impact and frequency. However, recent events such as the Alabama Waffle House arrest where a young woman was violently thrown to the floor, two Black men at Starbucks who were also arrested just for waiting on a friend, and several other incidents sparked the question during a CNN panel discussion: “is racial profiling on the rise or just starting to get more attention?
On Friday’s segment of “CNN Tonight” host, Don Lemon asked four Black commentators if this has been an ongoing issue or a new problem, but the panelists all agree racial incidents have occurred countless times for so many decades, the only difference now is that cell phone videos exist.
“For years, being Black has meant being subject to ritual humiliation, to degradation, lack of access to public spaces. The only difference between now and before is we have surveillance. It seems like white America didn’t believe it when we told them—we’ve been telling them we got followed around stores, kicked out of stores all the time. The only difference is now we have proof so they have to come to terms with it,” exclaimed Temple professor Marc Lamont Hill.
Former editor-in-chief of Ebony Magazine, Kierna Mayo agreed. She said, “There’s almost a reaction from White America like, ‘How can this be?’ And we’re like ‘This is what it’s been!’
The commentators also talked about another Waffle House case where a 20-year-old man was choked and slammed to the ground by a white officer. Shermichael Singleton, a Republican Strategist, said that if Black people want to set an example to other institutions “then we should absolutely take our dollars and send them elsewhere.”
Singleton expressed to Lemon, “So often Black people are told, particularly young Black men, to pull up your pants, get a solid education, be respectful while you’re in public… But you have two African- American students at Yale University that were not giving the benefit of the doubt.”
Writer Tre Johnson chimed in and added, “What continues to be a shock for people is that they look at these situations and White America wants to apply logic to things to account for what’s happening…”