News

    Florida Shooting Highlights Racial Profiling Controversy

    Female residents hold up images of black teenager Trayvon Martin and a packet of Skittles candy during a rally demanding justice for his killing in Miami, Florida April 1, 2012.
    Female residents hold up images of black teenager Trayvon Martin and a packet of Skittles candy during a rally demanding justice for his killing in Miami, Florida April 1, 2012.
    Chris Simkins

    The fatal shooting of unarmed African American teenager in Florida in February is focusing fresh attention on race in the United States. Some Americans believe he was a victim of racial profiling, singled out solely because he was black.  Supporters of the white, Hispanic neighborhood watch volunteer who shot the young man deny this.


    Calls for action

    Across the United States, there are calls for action in the killing of Trayvon Martin.

    Martin is the 17-year-old shot dead in a confrontation with neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman.

    Martin's parents say their son was murdered. Zimmerman claims self-defense. Local, state and federal authorities are investigating, but have made no arrests.

    Benjamin Crump is an attorney who represents Martin's family. "We honestly believe that Trayvon Martin is dead today because he was racially profiled," he stated.

    Zimmerman's supporters deny that, but many Americans insist that's the case.

    Representative Rush makes a point

    Representative Bobby Rush is among members of Congress calling for a federal commission to study what they say is race-based injustice. "Racial profiling has to stop Mister Speaker. Just because someone wears a hoodie does not make them a hoodlum," he said.

    Martin was wearing a hooded sweatshirt known as a hoodie the night he died. Now thousands of people are wearing them as a protest against what they see as racial stereotyping.

    "I feel like I should be able to go outside and wear my hoodie without worrying about this guy may be feeling this sort of way or that I may be threatening to this person," said Chris Bullock, a university student.

    Racial profiling

    Civil rights activists also cite what they call "driving while black". It refers to police allegedly targeting African Americans for traffic stops because they believe blacks are more likely to commit crimes.

    Racial profiling violates equal protection laws. But many African Americans believe it is common, and are calling for change.

    Greg Carr heads the Afro-American Studies Department at Howard University in Washington. "Politicians tend to respond to numbers and when you see numbers of people educating themselves as to the realities of racial profiling and then organizing themselves in ways that could lead to legislation," he stated. "It certainly could lead to lobbying and to an increase sensitivity in law enforcement and in general society "

    Candance House attends a university in North Carolina. "It just kind of upsets me that we really judge people based on how they look and we don't really stop to judge their actions," she said. "And to see if they're really good people or not."

    Some African American parents tell their children how to act if stopped by authorities.  High school student Efrugene Baptist relays his mother's advice. "She taught me the safeties of going out on the streets and how anything can happen at any moment. So just always stay attentive and be aware of what was going on," he recalled.

    Some say that advice can mean the difference between life and death.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora