strain-copy.jpgA suburban New Orleans sheriff has refused to recant his endorsement of racial profiling in a recent television interview, in which he threatened that anyone walking the streets with dreadlocks and “chee wee” hairstyles would be stopped and interrogated by sheriff’s deputies.

Although the remarks not rise to the level of stupidity of Nagin’s Chocolate City speech, they were offensive, and Sheriff Rodney “Jack” “Boo Boo” Strain – the best Louisiana politicians even have nicknames for their nicknames – should retract them. True, the popular and competent sheriff of St. Tammany Parish made the statement after a quadruple homicide in which the two suspects were described as young black men, one having dreadlocks and the other a “chee wee” hairstyle. (It is unclear what a “cheecheetos.jpg wee” hairstyle is, or whether the term is offensive or not. A leading theory is that it refers to hair resembling Cheetos.)

But the thurst of the statement was that the “thugs” and “trash” of Orleans Parish, which “coddles its criminals,” need to watch their backs in wholesome lily-white St. Tammany. They don’t take kindly to, you know, them people.

Public shock and outrage has reached such a fever pitch, that the ACLU has stepped in – and issued a strongly worded letter! The NAACP has gone a step further, politely requesting a federal civil rights investigation.

But where is the action? It’s time to march on St. Tammany.

In 1987, thousands of civil rights activists marched in Forsyth County, Georgia, to protest similar racial intolerance. It was often repeated that Forsyth County was “a county that warned black visitors not to ‘let the sun go down on your head.’ The marches were relatively peaceful, despite a counter-demonstration by the Ku Klux Klan, and multi-racial, arguably demonstrating the success of the civil rights movement.

Alas, the organizer of the march, Hosea Williams, is dead, and these days Jesse Jackson can’t even organize a decent bus caravan. In New Orleans, city leaders were forced to turn in their Dodge Durangos, so they may not even be able to get across the causeway. Looks like we’ll have to settle for a lawsuit or two. Through the lawyers, “We Shall Overcome!

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