Monday 20 June 2016

Donald Trump, the Media and Racial Profiling

Donald Trump (photo (c) Wikipedia)

Race (noun)

(a) a family, tribe, people, or nation belonging to the same stock (
b)  a class or kind of people unified by shared interests, habits, or characteristics

Each of the major divisions of humankind, having distinct physical characteristics: people of all races, colors, and creeds

I was surprised to see some of the “mainstream media" calling out Donald Trump as being in favour of “racial profiling” of Muslims in America. Please check the following media reports of his CBS Face the Nation interview on Sunday. I’ve underlined the words “racial profiling” from a few media sources in bold.

Donald Trump said Sunday that in the wake of the mass shooting in Orlando, it's time for the United States to start looking at racial profiling as a preventative tactic.

Republican Donald Trump said on Sunday the United States should consider more racial profiling in law enforcement, after urging harsher policies following last week's mass shooting in Orlando.

Donald Trump said Sunday that although he hates the idea of racial profiling, it might just be time to start implementing it anyway.

The strange thing is, when you read the transcripts of his interview, he didn’t actually mention racial profiling

You can view the complete CBS News transcript of his call-in interview. I’ve copied the transcript in at the bottom of this post for accuracy.

It’s difficult to understand how the word “racial” made it into the news headline next to the word “profiling”.

But our media organisations (and Mr. Trump) should remember that being a Muslim is not a race. Islam is a religion. There are moderate and conservative Muslims; there are African Nigerian Muslims as there are Asian Indonesian Muslims as there are Caucasian French Muslims.

According to the US Census Bureau, there are five minimum categories of race: 

·       White
·       Black or African American
·       American Indian or Alaska Native
·       Asian
·       Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander.

There is also an “origin”, which is defined as follows:

The racial categories included in the census questionnaire generally reflect a social definition of race recognized in this country and not an attempt to define race biologically, anthropologically, or genetically. In addition, it is recognized that the categories of the race item include racial and national origin or sociocultural groups. People may choose to report more than one race to indicate their racial mixture, such as “American Indian” and “White.” People who identify their origin as Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish may be of any race.

I also want to note that religious profiling is directly prohibited by Article 3 of the United States Bill of Rights:

Article the third... Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

So Donald Trump’s earlier assertions of “screening” Muslim immigrants may be anti-constitutional, depending in fact on how it is legally and institutionally implemented.

This post should not be read with the understanding that I am defending Donald Trump: I am not. 

I do note, however, that in this case, unless he mentioned something not in the interview transcript, he did not use the words “racial profiling”. And indeed, such an exercise would not be racial profiling, but religious profiling.

(c) Philip Ammerman, 2016 

Good morning, and welcome to FACE THE NATION. I'm John Dickerson.
It's been one week since Omar Mateen shot and killed 49 people and injured 53 more in a gay nightclub in Orlando. The largest mass shooting in U.S. history has sparked a heated political debate in America.
We begin this morning with Donald Trump, who joins us by phone from New Jersey.
This is a person who would not have been stopped by any kind of temporary ban, was born as American citizen. What Donald Trump policy would have kept this from happening?
Look, the big thing that we're missing here is that people have to report when they see somebody. This man was pretty much unhinged. I mean, you look at his record. You look at what happened. And, actually, I guess it was the gun store that did report, and reported him when he went in to buy all sorts of body armor and other things. He reported him to the authorities, law enforcement.
And it -- very sadly, nothing was done.
DICKERSON: But the...
TRUMP: It could have been prevented.
He was excellent in what he did, but, unfortunately, nobody took advantage of it.
DICKERSON: But he was...
TRUMP: When you -- John, when look at -- when look at people within the Muslim community and where people are living and they don't report -- and good example that have would be San Bernardino. They had bombs all over their apartment floor, and people saw it, and nobody reported them.
And 14 people were killed, many injured.
DICKERSON: So -- but, in this case, he was investigated twice by the FBI, was taken off a list. There was no red flag that suggested that he was -- that he was going to go do this. So, what was there to report?
TRUMP: Well, there were red flags, I mean, because when he walked in to buy all sorts of ammunition and body armor and all sorts of I guess body armor and other things, the owner of the store reported him. And so there were red flags.
TRUMP: And the you look at his past. You look at -- I have never seen a past quite like that that was -- you look at his record in school. You look at lot of other things. There are a lot of red flags. This was not a very good young man.
DICKERSON: Should somebody who goes in to buy that much ammunition be -- get extra scrutiny?
TRUMP: Well, I think it depends. Everybody wants to be so politically correct, and they want to do what is right and they're afraid to do anything, and a word -- words that are killing us, political correctness, but, unfortunately, it wasn't followed up.
DICKERSON: When you talk about political correctness, should a Muslim buying ammunition and weapons get extra scrutiny?
TRUMP: I don't know about that.
I think, right now, we have some pretty big problems. And there are problems coming out of radical Islamic -- the radical Islamic groups. You have a very, very strong group of people that is radical Islamic, and that seems to be a problem.
DICKERSON: And you said you would check respectfully the mosques. How do you respectfully check a mosque?
TRUMP: Well, you do as they used to do in New York, prior to this mayor dismantling.
By the way, if you go to France right now, they're doing it in France. In fact, in some instances, they are closing down mosques. People don't want to talk about it. People aren't talking about it. But look at what they're doing in France. They are actually closing down mosques.
DICKERSON: Can I ask you just a bottom-line question before we move on? You like to speak plainly. In December, we talked, and you said there possibly should be profiling. Just as a bottom line here, are you talking about increasing profiling of Muslims in America?
TRUMP: Well, I think profiling is something that we're going to have to start thinking about as a country. And other countries do it.
And you look at Israel and you look at others, and they do it. And they do it successfully. And I hate the concept of profiling. But we have to start using common sense, and we have to use -- we have to use our heads.
I see people that -- and I have seen it recently. We had a case where very much in my case, where we had -- we had tremendous numbers of people coming into a speech I was making. And people that obviously had no guns, had no weapons, had no anything, and they were being -- they were going through screening.
And they were going through the same -- the same scrutiny, the absolute same scrutiny as somebody else that looked like it could have been a possible person. So, we really have to look at profiling. We have to look at it seriously.
And other countries do it. And it's not the worst thing to do. I hate the concept of profiling, but we have to use common sense. We're not using common sense.
DICKERSON: Let me ask you about the NRA's position on selling guns to people on the terror watch list or the no-fly list. What is the difference between your position and the NRA position?
TRUMP: Well, my position, because I'm dealing with the NRA, and I have great respect for them. And Wayne and Chris and all of the people up there, these are great people. These are people that love their country incredibly. And I don't think they get enough credit for it.
But I'm dealing with the NRA. As you know, they gave me their endorsement, one of the early endorsements they have ever given for a presidential candidate. I'm a member of the NRA. My two sons are members of the NRA for a long time.
And I'm talking to them about the whole concept of terror watch lists. Should we take somebody directly off it -- if there is a terror watch list and if somebody is on, should they be allowed to buy a gun?
Now, we understand there are problems with that, because some people are on the terror watch list that shouldn't be on. You understand that. And that's happened. Maybe you can reverse it. And we work very hard to find out. If they can't get a gun, we work hard and diligently to get them off the list, if they indeed shouldn't be on the list.
So, I'm working with the NRA. We are discussing it. And, again, the NRA has the best interests of our country at -- it just has the absolute best interests of our country. They want to make the right decision. These are great people. And these are great Americans.
DICKERSON: Let me ask -- switch to politics. You said to Republican leaders, don't talk, be quiet. Who was that directed towards?
TRUMP: Well, nobody in particular.
And you have to understand, I have tremendous support, including from congressmen and senators and governors, and you take a look at -- throughout the whole -- Senator Sessions has been amazing. And I could name many, many congressmen that have been absolutely amazing and strong.
DICKERSON: These are not obscure figures, though, when you say Republican leaders, don't talk, be quiet. Certainly, Paul Ryan has spoken out, Mitch McConnell. Those are not fringe figures. You have said, if they don't cooperate, you might go it alone.
So, it's not -- this is -- this is you talking.
TRUMP: Well, my attitude on that, look, I won the primaries with the largest vote ever. I brought a lot of extra voters, a lot of voters, I guess, up 70 percent or close to 70 percent.
We brought additional people in that wouldn't have been in if I weren't doing this and I were not running. And I would say this. If people -- and especially where people endorse me that are Republican leaders, I think that, honestly, they should go about their business and they should do a wonderful job, and they should work on budgets, and get the budgets down, and get the military the kind of money they need, and lots of other things.
And they shouldn't -- they shouldn't be talking so much. They should go out and do their job. Let me do my job. I have tremendous support from both politicians and the people.
DICKERSON: All right.
TRUMP: Tremendous support. Unfortunately, the media just likes to cover really a small number of people that maybe have something to say. I think they should go about their work. Let me run for president. I think I'm going to do very well.
DICKERSON: OK, Mr. Trump, we will have to leave it there. Thanks so much for being with us.

TRUMP: Thank you very much, John.

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