No Country for Black Teens

Benjamin Todd Jealous
Demonstrators protest the NYPD's stop-and-frisk policy as police look on. (Allison Joyce/Getty Images)

Writing at the Huffington Post, NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous says the belief that African-American teenagers are inherently more likely to be criminals is ingrained in our society.

One year later, the Trayvon Martin tragedy still stings — and some people are still throwing salt on the open wound. Last week George Zimmerman's brother, Robert Zimmerman, posted a tweet comparing Trayvon Martin to De'Marquis Elkins, a 17-year-old black teenager charged with fatally shooting a one-year-old baby.

The tweet showed a photo of Elkins side by side with a photo of Martin, both making inappropriate gestures, with the caption "A picture speaks a thousand words. Any questions?" …

This would be worrisome enough if it were just the opportunistic cry of a family embroiled in racial controversy. But this belief — that male "black teens" are inherently more likely to be criminals — is ingrained in our society. It has seeped into our institutions in the form of racial profiling, and too often it poisons the judgment of those who are supposed to protect us …

The New York Police Department is currently fighting a class-action lawsuit against their racially biased practice of "stop-and-frisk" policing. Stop-and-frisk allows officers to stop, question and physically search any individual they consider suspicious. In 2011 NYPD officers stopped nearly 800,000 people for alleged "suspicious activity." Nine out of ten were innocent, 99 percent did not have a gun — and nine out of ten were black or Latino …


Read Benjamin Todd Jealous' entire piece at the Huffington Post.

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