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Angry Dan's Column

No one's Home

by Daniel Strohl

Organizations that work for minority rights and recognition, though great ideas theoretically, tend not to follow through on those ideas in my experiences.

Allow me to serve you with an anecdote. This semester, I have been working on an in-depth public records project on racial profiling. Contrary to what Raoul Lowery Contreras implied in his article on racial profiling, I do not support this type of discriminatory action by police. Rather, the project set out to prove, from arrest logs maintained by the Delaware, Ohio police department, that DPD officers pull over and cite Delaware blacks at around twice the rate they should have. Good evidence for racial profiling, correct? All I really needed was commentary from an above-mentioned organization, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People or from our school's own House of Black Culture.

So throughout the months of March and April and a good portion of February, I left enough messages with the Columbus chapter of the NAACP, the Ohio offices of the ACLU and the House of Black Culture to the point where even I found myself annoying.

You wanna know what I found out after two and a half months? The phones at the ACLU's Ohio offices (216.781.6276) don't provide for callers to talk to actual humans. You can, however, leave a general message or a message on the reporter line. On the reporter line you can even tell them your deadline or due date. I told them my due date repeatedly, but they seemed to have ignored it because I haven't heard dick from them.

The Columbus NAACP chapter (614.464.1108) will answer their phones with actual human beings. However, that is on the rare occasion when someone might be in. From the many times I called, I ascertained that they only tend to have people in the offices Monday through Thursday mornings. Yet these people are volunteers who work as clerical staff and the person they continually referred me to, a Mr. Parker, the president of the local chapter, never came to the offices. The director of minority student affairs at Ohio Wesleyan, someone who theoretically should be in regular contact with the president of the local chapter of the NAACP, had never even talked to him.

The House of Black Culture did answer their phones and did try to be helpful, however knew nobody whom I could talk to.

Granted, these pieces of anecdotal evidence are not meant to generalize the entire operations of the ACLU, NAACP or House of Black Culture. As a whole, these groups tend to do good things. For example, I found plenty of helpful info about racial profiling, or "driving while black," on the ACLU's website. However, info taken from a website is not nearly as helpful as tangible, concrete information given by a living human being. Journalists still do and will continue to do interviews face to face, over the phone or at the very least by email. Good research will continue to need the support of expert opinions and facts and so far, zero out of three organizations failed to produce these results.

I'm going to continue trying. Let's hope things get better.

Has Dan made you angry?

If so, feel free to send him and email and let him know just how wrong he is.

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