In a column for the Faster Times news and opinion site, Assistant Professor of Government Elvin Lim comments on arguments for and against race-based screening and pat-down procedures at airports around the country.
Specifically, Lim makes the compelling case that to oppose racial profiling for security purposes on the basis of racial equality while favoring race-based affirmative action policy is intellectually inconsistent at best, and he concludes:
Profiling on the basis of race, among other characteristics, such as behavior, is likely to become a de facto, if not a de jure, policy in our nation’s airports in the years to come. It is going to inconvenience some innocent people simply because, among other factors, their skin was colored a particular way just as, and the hope is, it will save a lot more innocent people a lot of hassle if everyone were treated equally at airports. If Americans accept this trade-off to be worth it, then perhaps we should also accept the analogous trade off: that as affirmative action on the basis of race, among other characteristics, such as gender, has become law and policy in employment and college admissions, the policy is going to make things harder for some equally qualified people, but it is going to make things easier for a bunch of people who would otherwise have had to endure many obstacles to employment and admission to college.
It’s a compelling and thoughtful and effectively non-partisan piece of political commentary, and it seems especially pertinent in the wake of recent related debate at Wesleyan. Read the whole piece at Faster Times here, or at Professor Lim’s blog here.
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