Sharpton Sounds Off on Racial Profiling

The Reverend Al Sharpton urged students to protest racial profiling in a speech last night at Lowell Lecture Hall.

Unlike his visit to Harvard Law School last month, when he spoke about a criminal rehabilitation program, this time his signature cause was the focus of his visit.

Racial profiling is the term used to describe law enforcement officials' use of race or ethnicity as a factor in identifying individuals they believe may be potential criminals.


"This issue has cut across all racial lines," Sharpton said. "There is nothing more stressful than being black in America, where you are victimized by cops and robbers."

The controversial New York resident, whose speech was sponsored by the Black Men's Forum (BMF), arrived sporting pinstripes, a crimson tie and his characteristic James Brown-style hairdo for his second visit to Harvard this year. A crowd of over 100 waited through his hour-long plane delay to hear him.

Dr. S. Allen Counter, director of the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations, BMF President Shearwood McClelland '00 and Fletcher University Professor Cornel R. West '74 offered brief introductory remarks.

McClelland said racial profiling is a problem that transcends race.

"The practice of racial profiling affects us all, black or white," he said.

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