Categories
general

Racist suspect descriptions

From the Augusta Chronicle, though this is hardly the only institution that does this:

Police describe one of the two suspects as a black man, 30 to 40 years old, about 6 feet tall and weighing about 190 pounds. The man also reportedly was wearing a dark blue running suit with a white stripe down the side and had a close-shaved head and was wearing an earring.

The female suspect was described as 30 to 40 years old with short bleached blond hair and acne on her face. She is 5 feet, 8 inches tall and weighs about 130 pounds.

Yes, we can assume the woman is white, but it’s not fair that she’s not tagged as such when the man was clearly labeled. It implies that white is the baseline and all other “races” are modifications.

It’s also possible, from that description, that she is any race, since her hair is dyed. So the description fails unless you operate from the white-as-baseline paradigm.

Where I work, we avoid mentioning race entirely and rely on mugshots for physical descriptions beyond height, weight, and what the suspect was last seen wearing. I don’t know if that’s an optimal solution, but it’s certainly better than this.