Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Backfire: Illinois State Rifle Association plays race card and equates being Black or Hispanic to being a gang member

In an attempt to fight House Bill 6123, which would prohibit the sale of firearms to gang members in Illinois, the Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA) played the race card by saying that the bill will discriminate against law-abiding African Americans and Hispanics.

From an ISRA press release:
Press Release - Bill That Would Effectively Prohibit African Americans and Hispanics From Buying Guns Advances in the Illinois General Assembly

Law-abiding African Americans and Hispanics would take it on the chin under a bill now moving through the Illinois General Assembly. Sponsored by Rep. Harry Osterman (D-14), HB6123 would prohibit any person or entity from selling a firearm to a so-called “street gang member.”
You heard right, because the bill would ban the sale of firearms to gang members the IRSA says it is discriminatory against African Americans and Hispanics. Meaning the ISRA views most law abiding Black and Brown people as gangbangers or at least looking like them.

In an ironic twist the ISRA's executive director goes ont to claim that the bill as promoting racial profiling.

"HB6123 promotes racial profiling at its worst," commented ISRA Executive Director, Richard Pearson. "Popular culture has branded urban minorities with the 'gangsta' stereotype that is pervasive well beyond the confines of actual criminal enterprises."
Oh brother, what Pearson fails to acknowledge is that by stating that this legislation is discriminatory against Blacks and Hispanics he and the ISRA, not the legislation nor the lawmakers who introduced and supported it, are the ones engaging in racial profiling.

I'm Black, have tons of Black and Hispanic friends and acquantances, and very few of them look anything like gangbangers.

Sure a significant number of people of color, as well as quite a few white folks I have encountered, dress in a manner fitting a "'gangsta' stereotype" (those ISRA guys sure know their street slang), however the law specifically identified what constitutes a gang member and none of those guidelines have anything to do with race or attire. It is the ISRA that has introduced race.

Gun rights groups traditionally identify with those on the right, who often accuse lefties and people of color like me of playing the "race card." In this instance it is ISRA who is employing the "race card" either out of ignorance or as a cynical attempt to mock legitimate claims of racism.

Let's hope that the ISRA gets significant pushback on this offensive effort to play the "race card." At the end of the day ISRA doesn't care about African Americans and Hispanics or our civil rights, they just care about getting more guns out on the street.

HatTip CapFax

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