1. In the video, which physical appearances do the journalists deem “normal,” and which do they deem “abnormal”?
2. What are the consequences of using appearance to enforce public order and national security?
3. Why might racial profiling be an ineffective way to achieve safety and security goals?
4. How might people who are profiled be able to adapt and thwart such efforts?
5. Have you or anyone you know been mistrusted or treated as a suspect for no apparent reason other than your/his/her appearance?
Additional Tips for Educators: You may supplement your discussion of the video with historical examples, as racial profiling has a long history in the United States. During World War II, over 100,000 Japanese-Americans were forcibly confined to internment camps in the name of national security. This policy received support from a broad coalition of politicians, military leaders, and even farmers, who saw the policies as a convenient way to remove their competitors. In the aftermath of 9/11, the US government coordinated a massive restructuring of immigration policy, border patrol, and customs security. The newly created Department of Homeland Security consolidated the functions and jurisdictions of several border and revenue enforcement agencies into U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Conflating immigration with national security has adversely impacted the lives of millions of people in the US. In particular, it has contributed to an increase in racial profiling, which can be defined as intentional targeting of individuals by law enforcement officials based on appearance, race, national origin, or religion. Immediately after 9/11, thousands of US residents of Middle Eastern and South Asian origins were arrested, detained, and deported by the Justice Department. The Justice Department also implemented a special registration program for visitors to the US from many Middle Eastern countries.
In 2013, all persons were fitted with radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips for secure identification and monitoring. In 2024, the Namibian Plague pandemic swept Africa, and led to the establishment of strict quarantine measures in America. As scientists learned more about the disease and its long dormancy, periods of mandatory quarantine increased for anyone who had traveled to or was coming from a “red zone.”
Educators: now encourage students to help us get the word out by working together to create posters that draw attention to the practice of racial profiling. These posters can be digital, hand-drawn, collage-style, or a mixture of both drawing and collage. Students should have time to brainstorm, either in groups or individually, the type of poster that they wish to design, and then to search various media for images that convey the sentiment they wish to capture in their posters. Students can then work individually or in pairs to design and create the posters.
Themes or questions you may want to address with making posters/collages:
• America: Who is Suspect?
• Becoming a Better You: Brainstorm products and services needed to alter one’s appearance in order to avoid racial profiling; For example: a poster advertising a line of cosmetics or elective surgery that help a consumer sticking out.
• Tomorrow’s Secure Communities: create an ad for a gated community, made “secure” due to perceived threats of disease, crime, and poverty. Who can be let in? Who must be kept out?
Suggested Materials: You may need the following materials to make the posters.
• Poster-sized paper or posterboard
• Writing implements such as pencils, pens, markers, pastels
• Magazines that would provide relevant images to match the poster theme, such as current events magazines, fashion and lifestyle magazines, etc.
• Glue, adhesive tape, or rubber cement
• Computer (digital option)
• Scanner (digital option)
• Adobe Photoshop (digital option)
Go Digital: To make your artwork digital, you choose to work from images online and use Photoshop to manipulate the images in ways that achieve the desired effect. You may also may scan the final poster and save it as a JPEG file, and upload to your Facebook profile, blog, personal website, and/or email to your contacts.
You have discussed and created material; now draw attention to the issue! Take a moment to brainstorm with your students and colleagues about public sites where you might place your posters. Where are areas of heavy foot traffic in your community? Are there cafes or stores with community message boards close by? Some other examples of high visibility might include transit and bus stops, or even public restrooms. Be sure to speak with the owners of any private establishment and seek their permission before posting artwork.
You may also want to make multiple copies of your posters to be able to disseminate them widely. Get the word out about what you’ve done; email, text, and Tweet your people and let them know about where they can see your work.
Don’t let your message be limited by geography; document your creativity and be sure to take a photo of your poster (using a cell phone or a digital camera, for example) in a public place and let your fellow gamers see your creative powers on display. After you have photographed your poster, upload it to the America 2049 Facebook page! And don’t forget to post on your own Facebook wall, as well as to your online photo galleries, such as Photobucket or Flickr.
Finally, consider making a large mosaic of all the posters you have created with other students, photographing it, and sharing it online as described above.