the Disillusioned kid: Identifying the Causes
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Thursday, November 10, 2005

Identifying the Causes

I don't normally bother with the letters page in the Times, but today I stumbled across this tit-bit:
Police checks on ID cards are a great source of friction among minority populations in countries that have them. This is being borne out with a vengeance in France today, where one of the chief complaints of minority communities is the frequency of police ID card checks on youths. It was while attempting to avoid just such an ID check that the two youngsters whose deaths precipitated the rioting were electrocuted.
The writer, Professor A.C. Grayling, follows this up with the requisite denunciation of the rioters, whose behaviour he describes as "completely unacceptable," but concludes by suggesting that events in France "should give our own Government vivid reasons for thinking again about its misguided and illiberal scheme."

The key point here is not that ID cards necessarily equate with rioting, they don't and there are a multitude of other factors at play in events in France. Rather it emphasises the fact that the effects of such laws will inevitably fall disproportionately on those with the wrong skin colour (as stop and search powers already do). It may be easy enough for white people to ignore this, but it is unlikely to pass unnoticed in the targeted communities.

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