Opinion

A conversation about profiling

Based on the difficulty in defining the word “is.” I suggest one should clearly examine one’s propensity for bias before entering into writing columns about the subject of profiling, a subject in vogue these days of political correctness. Every person profiles each day starting as a child. If you disagree, approach a young child not known by you and observe him/her as he/she profiles you based on the inflection of your voice and the expression on your face, with or without a smile.

Profiling per se does not deserve a “good” or “not so good” grade. Bill Ferguson attempted to present a fair “pro/con” comparison of profiling in his recent columns which appeared flawed because of the assertions he made to arrive at conclusions, often utilizing “colored words” to evoke emotions. I composed a letter to the editor, unsent, reference his attempt, but chose to remain mute on profiling only to have two new columns, Charles Richardson’s referencing Catherine Meeks’ prior column, Profiling, “is it legal, but is it right,” which encouraged me to convey “My Say.”

I had not read her column because of my own profiling of Dr. Meeks columns due to her insistence on injecting race/racism in every column. This has lead me to seldom read her column now. Meeks is the sociologist as compared with my engineering profession way of thinking. Regrettably, her emphasis on race and racism ay limit the audience who might be exposed to receive “her message for humanity in all of us” as cited by Richardson. in her columns.

My plea for putting aside the poor opinion of profiling by some is to consider as an example the word “friction” as relates to our cars, as in our inordinate love affair object in America. Engineers strive to reduce friction, thereby increasing the life of moving parts and improving efficiency. Thus friction could be inferred as “bad.” However, people could not live on earth successfully without friction that enables us to walk, and have brakes to stop those cars. Friction is thus “bad” and “good.”

Profiling can be good and not so good depending on circumstances, and no extent of legislation/enforcement will satisfy everyone. Take a good breath and just get over it. I have been profiled my entire life, especially when away from my southern heritage locale and upbringing as people observe my accent and slow speech. Over the last 5-plus years I have noticed increased profiling of me as people see my very white hair and unsteady walk noting that I’m old as they open/hold doors, even young women and teenagers, as I had done for many decades. I smile and thank them for their courtesy. Yes, profiling can be good.

Speaking of race, while having our Sunday meal after church, I noticed an African-American family eating at a near-by table. The father in the family was preparing to take a group picture of wife, their children, mother-in law. I approached him as he stood in the walkway and touched his arm. He immediately turned, apologizing for blocking my path, and I explained why I had interrupted him, to offer to take the picture so it would be complete with him in it. As they posed, instead of urging a smile, I asked that they say “Georgia Tech,” big smiles appeared, my not being aware that the elder daughter was considering going to an engineering school.

And me, I’m of WASPSAI, (white, Anglo Saxon, Protestant, Southerner, American Indian (Cherokee/Creek) heritage several of whom were displaced, fled injustice, or were beaten for preaching the gospel, only for and me and mine, their descendants, to live in our marvelous republic, The United States of America. We are all blessed, undeserving of our opportunities, and many of us not recognizing the responsibly we have been given to pass on to future generations. Our profiling needs to be for positive good and our comments about profiling free of bias and nefarious agenda.

Arthur D. Brook is a resident of Macon.

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