The New York Times published a front-page article on August 24 accusing the Justice Department of hiding a study purportedly showing that racial profiling in traffic stops was still a major problem. Now, in an article in the National Review (cited in the Power Line weblog), Heather Mac Donald explodes both the myth of racial profiling and the Times's accusation. Not only did the study show that the traffic stop rates for whites, blacks, and Hispanics are the same, but that the differing search rates for the various groups is based in a simple reality: the difference in arrest and crime rates between them.
This isn't just annoying. It's actively harmful to the poor. As Mac Donald concludes,
The notion that the police target blacks and Hispanics because of their skin color has damaged urban life. Thanks to racial-data-collection mandates, every officer knows that if he has “too many” interactions with minority citizens - including responding to crime calls or preventing a mugging - he could face a bias charge. Some officers will decide that it’s wiser for their careers not to fight crime aggressively, leaving law-abiding inner-city residents at the mercy of thugs. The drumbeat against the cops increases the hostility against them, poisoning the trust needed for the most effective police work. The New York Times’s endless crusade against phantom police racism ensures that the poorest neighborhoods will continue to be held back by fear and violence.
Of course, race-baiters like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson won't give up on the idea. If they didn't have any racism to denounce, they wouldn't have any reason to be prominent - and heaven forbid that should happen.