Profiling of Insane Clown Posse Juggalos must stop

It is sad—but not surprising—that the government’s rush to identify and profile “gang activity” has gotten to the point where fan groups and self-identified cultural “tribes” such as Juggalos, the followers of rap group Insane Clown Posse, are profiled as potential criminals.

But, as detailed in the recent story by Raheem F. Hosseini (“Insane criminal prosecution” SN&R Feature Story, January 23), that’s exactly the case.

We’re tempted to dive into the absurd by asking, “Who’s next?” Will middle-aged Deadheads find themselves stopped and frisked because of tie-dye T-shirts and rainbow teddy bear bumper stickers? Will Lady Gaga’s Little Monsters be accused of conspiring to commit violent crimes against fashion? Can those few remaining Beliebers expect to be searched for eggs on suburban streets?

If there’s any sanity to be found in this, it’s that the lawsuit by self-identified Juggalos reveals the true nature of the so-called profiling engaged in by some arms of law enforcement, which is, unfortunately, all too often an excuse to enshrine biases against members of subcultures. It really doesn’t matter who the group is, the point of profiling is to institutionalize stereotypes.

And once those groups are authenticated as “gangs,” all it takes is a random member to do something illegal. The bias is already in place to brand an entire subculture as criminal.

This is once again the sort of broad-brush attack on individual liberty that is repugnant in a multicultural democracy. Perhaps it’s time for all of us to paint our faces—at least until this sort of profiling is washed up.