Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Is Illinois Targeting Blacks With Speed Cameras?

The Illinois House has passed a bill approving speed cameras for the Martin Luther King, Jr. bridge in East St. Louis. Prior to making this post, I had no idea of the demographics of East St. Louis; however, my anecdotal experience suggests that bridges and roads named after Martin Luther King, Jr. are more typically found in areas with higher than average populations of blacks. It appears that my conclusion has some basis in reality, as the linked article notes that:

On average, black Georgians constitute approximately 47 percent of the population in a location with a street named for King. In more than 90 percent of places in the state with a Martin Luther King Jr. Street, the black community makes up at least 20 percent of the population. This pattern is consistent with that in other states and predictable given the role of black activists in initiating the street-naming process.

Could it be that Illinois is targeting a specific area of town in an effort to rip off certain segments of the population? According to Wikipedia (for whatever that is worth), the population of East St. Louis is over 97% black. This is an incredibly insidious use of these cameras, despite the politicians' claims that it is about "safety" on the bridge, if that is the case. The looter will always have a facially valid excuse for his games. "It's best for everyone," he will say.

This is just another reason why these cameras should be outlawed. They give politicians power to attack groups they do not like by placing cameras in areas where they travel.

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At 3:22 PM, Blogger Jedrious said...

The cameras do not punish specific demographics regardless of where they are placed, only people that break traffic laws are affected, follow the law and you have no concern (For the record I live in North L.A. county, where there are these cameras on every major cross-street and thoroughfare, and our demographics are as diverse as they can be).

At 1:29 PM, Blogger John Danneskj√∂ld said...

But the cameras only catch people in areas where they are placed. Certainly, the cameras can't pick out who is driving which car, but if you place the cameras in areas of town where certain races have higher population densities instead of placing them at other locations, it appears that these cameras could easily be targeted toward certain races or demographics. Just because something is facially non-discrimatory does not mean that it does not have a disparate and discriminatory impact on a certain racial class.


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