THE EDITOR, Sir:
In the aftermath of the Trayvon Martin travesty of justice and President Barack Obama's heartfelt comments about it and racial profiling in general, there has been much discussion about the iniquitous treatment of young, black males in the United States.
But missing from most of the discussions are the pervasive indignities that are suffered by many blacks, regardless of gender, age, or social status in the United States and many other Western countries.
My wife, who is black, is reminded that she is 'different' almost every day we spend in the United States, Canada, or the United Kingdom (UK). She often has a difficult time getting a separate key to our hotel room. She frequently receives 'exceptional customer service' by being followed and closely watched from the time she enters a store until she leaves. If she decides to purchase something, the store frequently informs the credit card company that she is 'suspicious' and her purchases are declined until she (or I) call the credit card company and the hold on the account is released.
On a recent visit to the UK, I went out to dinner at a moderately priced restaurant with six colleagues - four black women and two black men. We had reservations and the restaurant was less than half full when we arrived. Our appetisers arrived shortly after we ordered them. A half hour later, our entrées hadn't arrived, and when we enquired, we were told the electricity had gone out in the kitchen.
GOT THE POINT
While we were waiting patiently, we noticed that the restaurant had filled up and others who had arrived after us were getting their entrées. We then noticed that all of these other patrons who were getting served were white. We finally got the point that we were not welcome and got up and left. It would have been less time consuming if they just had a sign on the door that stated 'No Blacks Allowed'.
My point is that the ubiquitous nature of racial profiling is understated when it is suggested that it is confined solely to young, black males. Although it may be more blatantly applied to young males, it is really an equal-opportunity iniquity.