In the morning of Thursday April 17, 2008, at the Gare du Nord in Paris, passengers were boarding into the 8:25am Thalys train to Brussels, Antwerp, Rotterdam and Amsterdam. No border control to pass, since all countries involved are all happy members of the European Community, and their border control policy fall into the Schengen Agreement. But still, some vigilant agents from the customs authority were there to stop and interrogate passengers that look suspicious. Poor agents, torn by the difficulties of their almost impossible semiotic venture. Who shall they pick for interrogation? On the grounds of what? Is there something in a person’s face that should tell something meaningful about faulty behavior? Or should their drop any criteria altogether and put the fate of their vital task into the hands of blind randomness? Well, no. They found the solution to their epistemic quarrel in less than a second: pick the Negro.


  1. Lovely. In my humble subjective observations it appears that there is a good combination of depressing racial/ethnic profiling combined with almost explicitly anti-racial profiling. In other words, search the Black people, and then follow up by searching the 87-year-old White woman in the wheelchair. Voila! No discrimination!

  2. Peter,

    Great trick. It’s perfectly safe, absolutely critique-proof.




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