Speed Kills Racial Profiling Study – Surprise, Surprise!


LA JOYA, TX - APRIL 11: U.S. Border Patrol agents and a pilot from the U.S. Office of Air and Marine (OAM), stop to talk at sunset on April 11, 2013 in La Joya, Texas. In the last month the Border Patrol's Rio Grande Valley sector has seen a spike in the number of immigrants crossing the river from Mexico into Texas. With more apprehensions, they have struggled to deal with overcrowding while undocumented immigrants are processed for deportation. According to the Border Patrol, undocumented immigrant crossings have increased more than 50 percent in Texas' Rio Grande Valley sector in the last year. Border Patrol agents say they have also seen an additional surge in immigrant traffic since immigration reform negotiations began this year in Washington D.C. Proposed reforms could provide a path to citizenship for many of the estimated 11 million undocumented workers living in the United States. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

In an article about police shootings in last Sunday’s New York Times(8/31), Michael Wines disputes the conventional wisdom about a disproportionate number of African-Americans being shot by police, saying there are no data one way or another. But Wines revives the canard about blacks being disproportionately targeted in traffic stops.

There actually is a study for that.

LA JOYA, TX - APRIL 11:  U.S. Border Patrol agents and a pilot from the U.S. Office of Air and Marine (OAM), stop to talk at sunset on April 11, 2013 in La Joya, Texas. In the last month the Border Patrol's Rio Grande Valley sector has seen a spike in the number of immigrants crossing the river from Mexico into Texas. With more apprehensions, they have struggled to deal with overcrowding while undocumented immigrants are processed for deportation. According to the Border Patrol, undocumented immigrant crossings have increased more than 50 percent in Texas' Rio Grande Valley sector in the last year. Border Patrol agents say they have also seen an additional surge in immigrant traffic since immigration reform negotiations began this year in Washington D.C. Proposed reforms could provide a path to citizenship for many of the estimated 11 million undocumented workers living in the United States.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
LA JOYA, TX – APRIL 11: U.S. Border Patrol agents and a pilot from the U.S. Office of Air and Marine (OAM), stop to talk at sunset on April 11, 2013 in La Joya, Texas. In the last month the Border Patrol’s Rio Grande Valley sector has seen a spike in the number of immigrants crossing the river from Mexico into Texas. With more apprehensions, they have struggled to deal with overcrowding while undocumented immigrants are processed for deportation. According to the Border Patrol, undocumented immigrant crossings have increased more than 50 percent in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley sector in the last year. Border Patrol agents say they have also seen an additional surge in immigrant traffic since immigration reform negotiations began this year in Washington D.C. Proposed reforms could provide a path to citizenship for many of the estimated 11 million undocumented workers living in the United States.                                 (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Throughout the 1990s, the nation was fixated on tales of jack-booted New Jersey state troopers who were stopping speeders on the turnpike just because they were black! In a 2000 primary debate, Vice President Al Gore sneered at then-New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley, saying, “Racial profiling practically began in New Jersey, Senator Bradley.”

Attorney General Eric Holder recently paid tribute to the myth, claiming that when he was in college, he had been stopped “driving from New York to Washington.” He didn’t mention how fast he was going.

The story never made sense. How could the troopers tell the race of drivers in speeding cars? Did they wait until the driver rolled down his window and, if he was white, say, “Oh, sorry — have a nice day!”

But the Clinton administration was slapping consent decrees for racial profiling on police departments across the country, and the N.J. highway patrol was its prime evidence, based on a study that a child wouldn’t believe.



As is usually the case with bogus race studies, the pivotal 1993 survey compared speed stops on the New Jersey turnpike to the population of all drivers on the turnpike – not with the population of all speeders on the turnpike.



Such meaningless studies are popular on the left, where it is assumed that people of different races, genders, and ethnicities will always behave identically in all respects.

If fewer women pass the physical test to become firefighters, that can only be because of sexism. If fewer blacks pass the written test — that’s racism. If fewer whites play professional basketball — no, forget that one. Sports are important. (Unlike arson or vehicular homicide.)

Nonetheless, based on the assumption that blacks speed just as much as whites — because to believe otherwise would be racist! — Temple University’s John Lamberth announced that while only 13.5 percent of drivers along a particular stretch of the New Jersey Turnpike were black, 46 percent of those stopped for speeding were black.

Racial profiling, Q.E.D.

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