The Myth of the Post-Racial Era

Racial profiling is a blatant abuse of power that continues to plague the system of American law enforcement. Although the US Constitution promises equal protection under the law, people of color are regularly faced with arbitrary searches, arrests and a general presumption of guilt.

Just over a week ago, two African American men were asked to leave Starbucks because they had not ordered anything. They refused to leave because they were waiting for a third man to arrive for a business meeting. The manager quickly made a 911 call and had the two men arrested.

Later, the two men expressed the shock and disappointment they felt as a result of the experience. They explained that their arbitrary arrest made them feel like they were being stripped of their dignity. The measures enacted against them were disproportionate and unjustifiable and have triggered a wave of protest against Starbucks.

The company is attempting to salvage the situation and has fired the manager responsible for the 911 call. Starbucks’ CEO has appeared on television to apologize for the incident and announced that on the 29th of May stores will close for a company-wide ‘racial bias training’.

However, the case of Starbucks’ is hardly an isolated incidence. A LA Fitness gym in Secaucus faced similar backlash after a case of racial profiling was reported on the 17th of April. Racial profiling is a long-standing issue within America’s justice system. It creates a sense of alienation among minorities and a general distrust for police authority. The myth of the post-racial era has stagnated the debate on equality.

The denial of continuing racial tension must stop in order to facilitate change and discussion.