Racial descriptors more harmful than helpful

Christopher Pleasants — University student

In the latest University of Minnesota crime alerts, I have noticed racial descriptors being used to describe suspects that in no way contributes to the suspects being captured and brought to justice.

In the most recent, the suspects were described as âÄúblack males wearing dark clothing.âÄù This describes easily the majority of black males on at least some given day.

Descriptors such as these will surely not lead to any suspects being caught or keep anyone safe, though it will likely contribute to racial stereotyping and continued baseless fear of black men.

I am not against the use of racial descriptors in crime alerts; however, they should only be used in conjunction with other identifying features that will limit the suspect pool, like tattoos or scars.

Furthermore, complexion and facial features are more useful race-based descriptors, while the term âÄúblackâÄù describes a huge range of skin tones and other features.