July 31, 2004

The habits of racism.

This past April maked the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark US Supreme Court ruling holding that 'separate but equal' education systems for white and black Americans violated the Constitution. Speaking on that anniversary, Dubya noted how, despite the Brown ruling, the 'habits of racism' persist in the US.

When he made that comment, we doubt Dubya was thinking about his re-election campaign. But he should have been. According to the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson, officials in Dubya's re-election campaign wanted to know the race of a photographer assigned to photograph VP Dick Cheney.

[Star managing editor Teri] Hayt declined to speculate on whether Popat was racially profiled, but said she is deeply concerned.

"One has to wonder what they were going to do with that information," Hayt said. "Because she has Indian ancestry, were they going to deny her access? I don't know."

Journalists covering the president or vice president must undergo a background check and are required to provide their name, date of birth and Social Security number. The Star provided that information Thursday for Popat and this reporter.

"That's all anybody has been asked to provide," said Hayt, adding that this is the first time in her 26-year career that a journalist's race was made an issue.

Organizer Christine Walton asked for Popat's race in telephone conversations with two other Star editors before she spoke to Hayt. They also refused to provide the information. Walton told Hayt that Popat's race was necessary to allow the Secret Service to distinguish her from someone else who might have the same name.

"It was a very lame excuse," Hayt said.

Posted by Magpie at July 31, 2004 04:13 PM | US Politics | TrackBack(1) | Technorati links |
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Posted by: mn at August 1, 2004 03:09 PM