Sunday, July 10, 2011

Bangladeshi US congressman takes aim at profiling

Bangladeshi US congressman takes aim at profiling

By Shaun Tandon | AFP –
US Representative Hansen Clarke speaks during an interview in Washington, DC. Clarke …

US Representative Hansen Clarke, a Democrat representing Michigan, is assisted
Since entering Congress in January, the Detroit-based congressman has made it his mission to try to stop racial profiling in the United States, using his position as a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security.
The 54-year-old comes to the issue from a unique dual vantage point. His mother was African American, a community that has long protested against racial profiling by law enforcement.
"After 9/11, South Asians had some experience of what African Americans have had to go through for centuries here," Clarke, his voice animated, told AFP in an interview in his office.
"I'm aware of, too, the threat against our country," he said. "When you profile somebody, that's not effective because you're devoting attention and resources toward a group of people who probably more than likely are not a threat."
Clarke's district -- Michigan's 13th -- is majority African American and a stronghold of the Democratic Party, with President Barack Obama winning some 85 percent of the vote in 2008. Clarke ousted a Democratic incumbent, Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, in a primary election last year.
Clarke sees himself both as South Asian and African American; he takes his surname from his mother, who was a guard at a crossing for schoolchildren. Making his background even more diverse, Clarke's wife is of Korean ancestry.


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