Racial Profiling At Its Worst
San Francisco City Attorney Dennis J. Herrera is seeking a civil injunction against a street gang called the â€œOakdale Mobâ€. His reasoning is that the community of Bay View Hunters Point needs protection from members of this infamous gang, whose members commute there to sell drugs, kill rivals and witnesses, and overall terrorize the residents of that community.
The injunction, which could target as many as 300 young black men, also would bar them from committing a variety of crimes such as trespassing, intimidating witnesses, painting graffiti and stashing guns in bushes and crawl spaces.
So, whatâ€™s the problem you might ask? Isnâ€™t this a positive step towards reducing crime in that neighborhood? Well, letâ€™s first look at who this injunction is targetingâ€¦ young black males! Next, letâ€™s ask ourselves, who are these young men who are supposed to be members of this gang. Does the City Attorney have absolute proof, or will law enforcement officials begin to round up any young black male who fits their â€œdescriptionâ€ of someone who would belong to this gang?
This injunction sounds like a political move, an appeasement to the communities that are looking to the city to be tougher on crime. But it does not get to the root of the cityâ€™s â€œrealâ€ problem. Why are guns made so readily available to our youth? Why are drugs allowed in to the communities of color and the poor? Why are there liquor stores on so many corners, while after school programs and community centers are closed down? Why do our young men feel this is the only option for them, that without this, they are not worth a decent home, food, education, etc.?
If a remedy is not found to these evils, it is a vain thing for the city to boast of its severity in punishing theft, which though it may have the appearance of justice, yet in itself is neither just nor convenient. As Thomas More said, â€œFor if you suffer your people to be ill-educated, and their manners to be corrupted from their infancy, and then punish them for those crimes to which their first education disposed them, what else is to be concluded from this, but that you first make thieves and then punish them ?â€
The city of San Francisco must share the blame and the responsibility. Fix the roots instead of just planting more trees.