Two New York vloggers offered YouTube a small glimpse into the ugly world of racial profiling. Adam Saleh and Sheikh Akbar said they were trying to film a video for their Youtube channel when they noticed that they were being followed by the polic…
Two New York vloggers offered YouTube a small glimpse into the ugly world of racial profiling.
Adam Saleh and Sheikh Akbar said they were trying to film a video for their Youtube channel when they noticed that they were being followed by the police. The pair thought it was because they were wearing cultural clothing.
To prove their point, they decided to conduct a social experiment.
Wearing jeans and t-shirts, Saleh and Akbar got into a loud argument in front of a police officer on a street corner. Although they got quite physical — shoving each other at times — the officer didn’t make a move.
About 20 minutes later, the pair walked in front of the officer again. This time, they were wearing keffiyeh scarves and traditional long shirts, called abayas. The argument was mainly verbal, but the officer took notice immediately.
“Why are you dressed like this?” the cop asks, before forcing the two against a wall and searching them for weapons.
Saleh says the video was recorded in one take.
“What you just saw is what we always go through when we’re filming with our cultural clothing on,” Saleh said in the video.
“We just want to make racial profiling come to an end,” he continued.
An NYPD spokesperson told the Huffington Post that “the video is under internal review.”
Last year, a U.S. district judge ordered sweeping reforms to the NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk initiative, ruling that the practice has resulted in discrimination against minorities. Although the number of stops has declined significantly since the trial, Saleh and Akbar’s Muslim clothing made them more likely to get the officer’s attention.
The NYPD has subjected New York’s Muslim communities to intense scrutiny and surveillance ever since the September 11 attacks, using “mosque crawlers” to monitor sermons and infiltrating Muslim student groups. The methods sparked widespread criticism from civil rights groups.
In April, the NYPD shuttered the police unit that created databases about Muslim communities and kept logs of where people prayed and shopped. But the police force has defended its continued use of informants to gather information about terror threats.
During his campaign, Mayor Bill de Blasio had promised that he would order a full review of surveillance activity against the Muslim community. Linda Sarsour, executive director of the Arab-American Association of New York, has said she hoped for a more forceful message from de Blasio’s administration.
After watching Saleh and Akbar’s video, Sarsour told the Huffington Post:
"If this is true, this further illustrates the point that the NYPD targets and profiles communities of color. In New York City, we should be able to walk down the street wearing our ethnic, religious clothing without fear of harassment."
Source: Carol Kuruvilla for The Huffington Post