Iowa Rep. Steve King was on a roll yesterday. Yesterday he said that President Obama has a “default mechanism” in him that makes him favor black people. Then last night, while speaking on the House floor, King defended the Arizona law (and racial profiling), told a funny little story about he had been profiled in DC—to his benefit, even! You see, people? Profiling is a good thing!
He then listed several “common sense indicators” that law enforcement can rely on to tell whether or not a person is an undocumented immigrant:
- Judge their clothes
- Judge their shoes
- Judge their accent
- Judge their grooming
- Use your sixth sense
Sixth sense is a common sense indicator?
What a jackass.
Some claim that the Arizona law will bring about racial discrimination profiling. Well first let me say, Mr. Speaker, that profiling has always been an important component of legitimate law enforcement. If you can’t profile someone, you can’t use those common sense indicators that are before your very eyes. Now, I think it’s wrong to use racial profiling for the reasons of discriminating against people. But it’s not wrong to use race or other indicators for the sake of identifying people that are violating the law.
Now we all get profiled, Mr. Speaker. I had just a moment of irony this morning when I stepped out of the USDA building down here several blocks west of the Capitol, wearing a suit. And I had just stepped out to the sidewalk. I hadn’t even looked for a cab. I started to walk down the street thinking I would go to the corner. There was a cab going the other direction on the opposite side of the street, tapped his horn, I looked up, and he swung around the street and picked me up. I said, “How did you identify me as someone who needed a cab ride?” I hadn’t indicated I wanted one; I was walking down the street. And he said, “Well, you were wearing a suit and stepped out of the USDA office. There wasn’t a car there to pick you up. I knew you needed a cab.”
He profiled me. He said, “I don’t stop for people like that that are wearing shorts and sneakers because they’re not looking for a ride. People in suits coming out of this building are.” There I was, profiled because I’m a guy in a suit in a time of the day when it would be logical that I’d be looking for a ride somewhere. It’s just a common sense thing. Law enforcement needs to use common sense indicators. Those common sense indicators are all kinds of things, from what kind of clothes people wear—my suit, in my case—what kind of shoes people wear, what kind of accent that they have, the type of grooming that they might have. There are all kinds of indicators there, and sometimes it’s just a sixth sense that they can’t put their finger on. But these law enforcement officers , if they were gonna be discriminating against people on the sole basis of race, singling people out, that’d be going on already.