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Colorblind – But Only Occasionally

Here’s a letter to the Washington Post:

Eugene Robinson condemns racial profiling to fight crime (“Positive steps on ‘stop and frisk,’ drug arrests,” August 20), yet he applauds racial profiling to encourage minority enrollment in colleges (“Supreme Court caution on affirmative action,” June 25).

Government efforts to fight crime aren’t identical to government efforts to promote education.  But the burden – and it’s a heavy one – should be on those people, such as Mr. Robinson, who propose racial profiling for some government activities but who oppose racial profiling for other government activities.  Why do the angels that allegedly inspire officials on some occasions to judge people benevolently by the color of their skin flee to be replaced by the devils – or, at least, by the ordinary run of human imperfections and biases – that prompt officials on other occasions to judge people maliciously by the color of their skin?

Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA  22030