“You shoot at the enemy. You try to identify the enemy. And the enemy right now, the overwhelming majority right now coming in are people of color or people of Hispanic origin. I can’t help that. I just can’t help it. Those are the facts.” Gov. Paul LePage
These are remarks of the Maine Governor Paul LePage when discussing drug crime in his district. Lepage was responding to allegations that people of colour were being racially profiled. Lepage said 90% of the mugshots on the police systems in Maine were of Black people and Hispanics. Whereas, the US censor shows that 95% of the residents of Maine were White.
However, American Civil Liberties Union of Maine have responded by saying that research shows blacks and whites deal drugs at similar rates. Moreover, those drug dealers can’t be dealing drugs exclusively to only the 5% minority demographic. Therefore, it seems like there is a ‘disparity’ in who is getting arrested and policed.
Lepage has defended his statement that many have seen as racism by saying:
“Look, a bad guy is a bad guy, I don’t care what color it is. When you go to war, if you know the enemy, the enemy dresses in red and you dress in blue, you shoot at red, don’t you?”
The problem when politicians use or make such generalising and inflammatory statements it only breeds further ignorance and marginalisation. There will be many who think LePage’s statements are the truth and won’t bother doing any of their own fact checking. There will be those whom will use his words to justify and generalise all Black and Hispanic people. Whereas, the nature of crimes and those prosecuted for breaking the law are far more complex than simple generalisations. For instance, a lot of the statistics on crime are influenced by which areas are policed more heavily and which people are profiled more often for arrest.
“According to the governor, Maine police are nine times more likely to arrest people of colour for selling drugs than white people, even though we know white people are just as likely to commit drug offences,” Executive director of the ACLU of Maine, Alison Beyea, said in a statement. “This alarming disparity in arrests raises significant concerns that Maine law enforcement is participating in unconstitutional racial profiling.”
It is this disparity in arrests and racial profiling that led to President Obama loosening the laws on drug possession and those serving time for non-violent crimes in prison.
Previously, LePage left this alarming voicemail in defence of his racism allegationsIn the voicemail, obtained by the Press Herald, LePage directed several obscenities toward Gattine.
In the voicemail, obtained by the Press Herald, LePage directed several obscenities toward Democratic State lawmaker Gattine.
“Mr. Gattine, this is Governor Paul Richard LePage. I would like to talk to you about your comments about my being a racist, you cocksucker,” LePage said. “I want to talk to you. I want you to prove that I’m a racist. I’ve spent my life helping black people and you little son-of-a-bitch, socialist cocksucker. You, I need you to, just freakin’, I want you to record this and make it public because I am after you. Thank you.”
Is this the America that Trump is unleashing or has America always had this kind of politics? Has there simply been a regression back to a time where minorities could be scapegoated and stereotyped?
Let us know your thoughts
Do you think this generalisation is racist?
Do you think more or less needs to be done on drug crime?
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