Definitely a difficult one.
I've read about the "racial profiling concern's" and whether this type of behaviour is either justified, or racism.
There's a very fine line, or so it seem's to me. Because of the differences, both physical and mental between those of different colour's, cultures and creed's.
Now I try very hard to keep an open mind on such matters, and often treat such stories, i.e. the linked one with a very large "pinch of salt".
But is the "tone" of the article justified? Well, if the lady who wrote that particular piece is from, oh what's the phrase? Oh yes, "WASP" background, then possibly paranoid?, but only on the basis that she hadn't spent any/much time in the company of people whose appearance is Arabic.
Was she just being cautious and sensible? or paranoid? I don't know.
One thing I have noticed is that if you are somewhere where you come into contact with group's of people who are different from yourself, then it's quite easy to feel uncomfortable. Say, like in London, where certain group's of a particular racial origin have chosen to make their homes. Maybe, say Southall and Newham, both of which have large Asian communities (as opposed to oriental, that is).
I've spent times in both area's, and noticed that these communities have the same problem's as the one's in which I've lived, though sometimes, for reason's of culture and maybe language, I've felt a little intimidated when there's been group's of youth's around wherever/whatever I'm doing. They aren't doing anything differently from a white community i.e. the kid's hanging around the street corner etc, but the oppressive feeling seem's to stem from unfamiliarity with groups of people like this, and not that they are any different from myself other than possibly their faith and skin colour.
Because with that scenario, I would normally feel more comfortable if say that youth's where white, so my discomfort is irrational.
Now, given that "people of Arabic appearance" probably out number American national's quite considerably, was the lady who wrote the linked article's attitude also irrational?
I feel that from the outside point of view that while the US security authorities seem to be doing about as much as is reasonably practical, occasionally, there seem to be some thing's that arise that boarder on the paranoid but given the US constitution, then there are something's that certain group's would feel justified, while a different group of people would feel discriminatory.
Let's face it, post 9/11, any terrorist group intent on carrying out an atrocity is probably going to pick people who more closely resemble the indigenous population of wherever they've chosen to carry out their "thing".
It'd be pretty unlikely that they'd pick person's who are "very Arabic" in appearance, dressed in traditional robes/head-wear etc. Because let's face it, large part's of the populations of Spain, Italy, Southern France, Greece, etc etc could be described as being "of Arab appearance".
So given that, I'm trying to work out why "she" wrote that article in the first place. Was it a scare story designed to sell paper's? Was it a genuine concern? Possibly both, possibly neither. I can't say. I'm certainly not familiar with the "flavour's" of politic's used by the various US newspaper's and TV stations, hence I'll remain "on the fence".
Is it not also the case that nuka_t has justification for those remark's (i.e. previous experience of some sort of prejudcial treatment)? Yes, racism is wrong. Very wrong, but that's not to say, that if people from a given group who have a history of causing problem's, then singling out everyone from that group is automatically discriminatory.
Yes, it's certainly "using a large hammer, to crack a small nut", I for one, don't feel that it's right to "tar everyone with the same brush" but given the recent decision by Britain's highest court (the House of Lords) when deciding in the matter of retention of DNA profiles AFTER you've been cleared of any wrong doing, I understand that theirs was that police authorities can now retain DNA information for use in future investigation's, and that they felt that this is more important than protecting the human right's of every man and his dog!
Personally, I do see it as an infringement of my human rights, but have to concede that the judges who made this decision are probably the best people for the job, and in making that decision they weighed up all the possible factor's, and that the retention of such info is for our countries so called "good" (but that's also not forgetting that it's a decision that may also be over turned by the European Court of Human Right's).
At the same time, it open's up a whole "can of worm's" in respect of civil liberties, when considering the possibilities of very large databases of such info. Perhaps's it should be possible, but at the same time, we could have very, very draconian punishment's available for those who may abuse such information, with no-one being exempt from prosecution for any such abuses (as in politician's, police, companies, etc etc and member's of such organisations being personally liable).
Oh, I don't know. How do you try to be fair, and unbiased in your treatment of people, whatever their creed, colour, background, social status, etc etc. As I said in my first sentence, definitely a difficult one!
p.s. It would be nice to see this thread continue with considered answers, but as BajaNick has already pointed out, these subject's can easily mutate into flamers (and no I don't think he meant Burger King product's