Race, Ethnicity, and Policing: New and Essential Readings

By Stephen K. Rice; Michael D. White Roberts | Go to book overview

19

New Avenues for Profiling and Bias Research The Question of Muslim Americans

Stephen K. Rice and William S. Parkin

Limited attention has been paid to Muslim Americans' interactions with the justice system and domestic security apparatus. Instead, the “Muslim American experience” has typically been framed by the structural (e.g., matters of assimilation; socioeconomics), sociopolitical (e.g., perceptions of U.S. domestic and foreign policy; a “clash of civilizations”), or codal (religious teachings). In an attempt to chart a course forward, this chapter assesses how perceived injustice and negative emotions (e.g., humiliation, moral outrage) must come to hold a more central position in assessments of deference and defiance among this understudied population.


Introduction

On a July day in 2007, two men on a Washington State ferry were photographed after crew members and passengers noted the pair asking questions and taking pictures in areas that rarely hold interest for tourists. The men, both “dark haired and olive skinned,” were reported to have taken photos above- and beneath-deck in a ferry system that has been identified by the Department of Homeland Security as the most likely target for maritime terrorism in the United States.1 More so than for the photographing of “unusual” behavior—a surveillance activity that has become more commonplace post-9/112—the incident was unusual for the manner in which federal law enforcement called on news agencies to release the men's pictures and for the public to aid in their identification. After approximately ten months, during which time the “Middle Eastern-looking” men were featured on the Federal Bureau of Investigation website, national news broadcasts, and national news publications, it was learned that the two individuals had proactively contacted a U.S. embassy abroad. They were software consultants who had traveled to Seattle in the summer of 2007 for a business conference:

Turns out the men, both citizens of a European Union nation, were captivated by the
car-carrying capacity of local ferries. “Where these gentlemen live, they don't have ve-
hicle ferries. They were fascinated that a ferry could hold that many cars and wanted

-450-

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