As State Senator, Obama Pushed for Racial Data Collection
When the bill was up for a second time, Obama appeared more conciliatory regarding the possibility of racial profiling. On January 13, 2000, he told the St. Louis Dispatch:
Nobody really knows how pervasive the practice of racial profiling is, and that puts a cloud over the able law enforcement officer. … There is at least the perception in black communities that "driving while black" is a crime.
Obama returned to this subject in 2009 following the arrest of Professor Henry Louis Gates: Obama accused the Cambridge, Massachusetts, police of acting “stupidly." He also mentioned that he had been stopped many times for no apparent traffic violations, and added:
You will be hard-pressed to find a black or Hispanic family who does not have at least one member who feels they’ve been stopped because of their race.
Obama also told a Boston Globe reporter on July 22, 2009:
There’s a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately. That’s just a fact.
Obama then referred to his ERPA bill:
We worked on a racial profiling bill because there was indisputable evidence that blacks and Hispanics were being stopped disproportionately. And that is a sign, an example of how, you know, race remains a factor in the society.