The new face of the Civil Rights Movement

21 Oct
This could help the Democrats in 2004:Racial profiling is nothing new, but the belief that the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks two years ago fostered more profiling, and more widespread public acceptance of it, is bringing together ethnic minorities and immigrants in what some describe as a shift in the civil rights movement.

At recent hearings in Chicago–part of a national fact-finding campaign examining profiling–witnesses included not just those typically perceived to be victims, such as African-Americans, but also recent immigrants from far-flung parts of the world.

They are people who might ordinarily think they have little in common, other than the persecution they say they have experienced in the past due to the Patriot Act and other measures to combat terrorism.

"If you're black or brown, you're probably all too familiar with routine traffic stops simply for `driving while black or brown,'" Hatem Abudayyeh, executive director of the Arab American Action Network, said at Monday's hearing, sponsored by Amnesty International and the Applied Research Center. "If you're Arab or Muslim, you're likely to have experienced airport searches simply for `flying while Arab or Muslim.'"

But, Abudayyeh said, policies implemented since the attacks have created broader powers and infrastructures to engage in racial profiling on the federal level.

"Immigrants of color, particularly Arab and Muslim immigrants, as well as Latino, Asian and African immigrants, have taken the brunt of most `war on terror' and homeland security policies," Abudayyeh said. Added Josina Morita, a research associate with the Applied Research Center: "There's a general perception that the face of a terrorist is a brown person."

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