Rep. Rashida Tlaib, founding member of "The Squad" and loving granddaughter in all cases except when she needs to protest Israel, toured the Detroit Police Department Real Time Crime center in order to review its latest facial recognition technology on October 2. While there, Rep. Tlaib expressed her concern that only black people should be employed as facial recognition analysts because "non-African Americans think African-Americans all look the same."
"Analysts need to be African Americans, not people that are not," Tlaib told Detroit Police Chief James Craig. “I think non-African Americans think African Americans all look the same."
"I’ve seen it even on the House floor: People calling Elijah Cummings 'John Lewis,' and John Lewis 'Elijah Cummings,' and they’re totally different people," Tlaib continued. "I see it all the time, and I love them because they go along with it."
Craig rebutted, "I trust people who are trained, regardless of race; regardless of gender. It’s about the training."
"I know," Tlaib sharply said. "But it does make a huge difference with the analysts."
According to The Detroit News, Tlaib stood by her comments after the tour, but was vague as to whether she meant white people should not be employed by the Detroit Police for this specific unit.
via Detroit News:
After the tour, when a reporter asked whether she meant white people weren't qualified to work in the crime center, Tlaib said: “No, I think there has actually been studies out that it’s hard for — African Americans would identify African Americans, or Latinos, same thing.”
Tlaib then was asked whether that means non-whites should be barred from working as crime analysts in mostly white communities. She replied: “Look it up.”
Then, a spokesperson for her office justified her claims with several studies showing white people had difficulty differentiating between people of different races.
"The studies (Tlaib mentioned are) related to cross-race effect or other-race effect," McCampbell said in an email. "This has shown that individuals are less accurate when identifying people from a race other than their own.
"Detroit has a black population of more than 80%, so that is where her basis came from and what she was trying to convey when it comes to accurate identification," McCampbell said.
As for Police Chief Craig, a black man actually with experience in police work, he argued that Rep. Tlaib insulted all men and women under his command and that her comments were racist.
"It’s insulting," Craig told reporters after the tour. "We have a diverse group of crime analysts, and what she said — that [whites] should not work in that capacity because they think all black people look alike — is a slap in the face to all the men and women in the crime center."
"That’s something we train for, and it’s valuable training, but to say people should be barred from working somewhere because of their skin color? That’s racist."
The key portion of her tour can be seen here:
According to Rep. Rashida Tlaib facial recognition analysts need to be African Americans because white people think all black people look alike.— ForAmerica (@ForAmerica) October 3, 2019
Wish this was a joke but she was serious. Smh. pic.twitter.com/b0RxsSsFlb