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Obama might need to show ID in more places than East Harlem

Earl Ofari Hutchinson | 6/2/2009, 10:45 a.m.

Researchers found public attitudes on crime and race unchanged. The majority of whites still overwhelmingly identified blacks as the most likely to commit crimes, even when they didn’t commit them. That’s especially important to say, since the fallback line is often that linking race and crime is not stereotyping because blacks commit the majority of street crimes.

One implication of all this is that Obama’s victory was more of a personal triumph for him than many believed. It did not radically remap racial perceptions, let alone put an end to racial stereotyping. Another is that much of the public still sees crime and poverty through a narrow racial lens.

An early newspaper account of the Edwards shooting minced no words. It said that Edwards was mistaken for a thug. The brazen inference was that Edwards’ clean-cut look and police badge, and that he was doing his duty in giving chase to a criminal suspect, didn’t exempt him from the “young black male equals thug” typecast.

Edwards paid the price for that casting. All Charlie Rangel was trying to say is that the same thing could happen to any young black who happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time — even if he’s the president.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is a syndicated columnist, author and political analyst. His weekly radio show, “The Hutchinson Report,” can be heard in Los Angeles on KTYM 1460 AM and online at http://www.ktym.com.