Yellow peril: US police department will change ‘derogatory’ designation system that used ‘Y’ for Asians
The apparent reference to the ‘yellow’ skin colour of Asian staff at the Nassau County Police Department is decried by the New York Civil Liberties Union
A suburban New York police department said Monday it is scrapping codes in an internal spreadsheet that denoted Asian personnel with the letter “Y”, apparently for “yellow.”
The Nassau County Police Department said it is immediately changing those notations, as well as the designation the department had used for Native Americans or American Indians: “I,” for Indian.
Other race based codes – “B” for black, “W” for white, “H” for Hispanic – will remain.
The New York Civil Liberties Union unearthed the notations through public-records requests for policies and data from various police departments around the state.
“These derogatory designations don’t only represent slurs against members of the department, they also raise questions about the way the police department thinks about Asian-Americans and the communities they are sworn to protect,” NYCLU lead policy council Michael Sisitzky said in a statement.
Nassau County Police Detective Lieutenant Richard LeBrun said the personnel spreadsheet system was over 25 years old, and “in no way has the use of these letters reflected any bias toward our Asian American or Native American residents.”
“The Nassau County Police Department strives to protect all of its residents, regardless of race, colour, gender and religion,” he said in a statement.
LeBrun said the department would review all of the data the NYCLU brought to light and examine the group’s recommendations.