The Bellingham Herald published this editorial cartoon last Sunday that RJC feels mocks our objections to Bellingham acquiring predictive policing software. It depicts law officers calling local people of color “uninformed individuals” for speaking out against practices that institutionalize racial profiling.
Please send a letter to Herald editor Julie Shirley voicing your objections to this coverage. Here’s a sample -- feel free to use this or adapt to fit your perspective.
I am a community member of Whatcom County and I am writing to express my deepest concern about a cartoon published in the Sunday, August 30, Herald Opinion cartoon section by Rik Dalvit.
The cartoon depicted two police officers ridiculing the response of local communities of color to the police department and Mayor Kelli Linville’s decision to purchase predictive policing software for the City of Bellingham. Local communities of color find that this software can be used to racially profile people of color in this community who frequently experience harassment by local law enforcement agencies.
I believe these concerns are valid, not to be ridiculed, and it is shameful that the Herald would publish such a biased, micro-aggressive, and marginalizing image under the guise of humor. It is already humiliating and dehumanizing to be treated differently from the dominant culture in this community. It is further dehumanizing to be ridiculed for speaking up about it.
I urge you to exercise increased sensitivity in the messages you are sending to the people of color in this community who are growing in population. I also ask that you print a retraction of the cartoon and issue an apology in the cartoon section this Sunday to the people of Whatcom County for publishing this insensitive cartoon.
Let us know that you’ve taken action -- please email email@example.com after submitting your letter to the Herald. We’d like to keep track of how many letters are submitted.
The problem with predictive policing software
You can read more about our objections to the software here. http://www.whatcomcivilrightsproject.org/blog/petition-to-mayor-linville-stop-predictive-policing-in-bellingham. What it boils down to is this: The software plugs in data collected through biased policing to justify increased police patrols of neighborhoods unfairly affected by bias. Bad data in, bad data out.