Money, power, and status count for little in the face of persistent racial profiling by police, African-American men tell the Los Angeles Times. Many say they know all too well how Henry Louis Gates Jr. must have felt in his home last week. The consensus generally seems to be that it's futile to put up a fight after, say, yet another traffic stop. "It's more important for me to make it home than to fight for a cause I'm not going to win," says one public school administrator who estimates he's been stopped 20 times in 10 years.
Racial profiling can be hard to prove—the LAPD hasn't upheld a single one of 1,200 complaints over the last 6 years—and while attempts to challenge police actions have sometimes brought about real change, they more often end in an arrest. "I think that if I was a white major on the turnpike, and was stopped unlawfully, they would have said, 'Hey, major, go on about your business,'" says one black Florida police major who was pepper-sprayed and arrested after arguing with traffic cops.