Jesse Singal calls it a horrifying story in Wednesday’s New York Times, and he’s right. It investigates an alleged incident of racial profiling at Smith College and the aftermath. It sounds like the sort of thing that happens at Oberlin every day, so it’s nice to have a change of venue.

Michael Powell writes:

In midsummer of 2018, Oumou Kanoute, a Black student at Smith College, recounted a distressing American tale: She was eating lunch in a dorm lounge when a janitor and a campus police officer walked over and asked her what she was doing there.

The officer, who could have been carrying a “lethal weapon,” left her near “meltdown,” Ms. Kanoute wrote on Facebook, saying that this encounter continued a yearlong pattern of harassment at Smith.

The New York Times, The Washington Post and CNN picked up the story of a young female student harassed by white workers. The American Civil Liberties Union, which took the student’s case, said she was profiled for “eating while Black.”

Less attention was paid three months later when a law firm hired by Smith College to investigate the episode found no persuasive evidence of bias. Ms. Kanoute was determined to have eaten in a deserted dorm that had been closed for the summer; the janitor had been encouraged to notify security if he saw unauthorized people there. The officer, like all campus police, was unarmed.

Salon and Media Matters alumnus Eric Boehlert was amused by Singal’s description of academic administrators being “privileged.”

Actually …

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