During a recent interview with Uptown magazine, actress Taraji P. Henson revealed that she’s reconsidering the decision to have her son attend the University of Southern California because he was racially profiled on campus.
After he had already dealt with a similar situation before the USC visit, this was the last straw for her.
“Then he’s at University of Southern California, the school that I was going to transfer him to, when police stopped him for having his hands in his pockets,” the 44-year-old mother said. “So guess where he’s going? Howard University. I’m not paying $50K so I can’t sleep at night wondering, ‘Is this the night my son is getting racially profiled on campus?”
Howard University is the Empire star’s alma mater.
E! Online reports that the Director of USC’s Department of Public Safety, John Thomas, caught wind of Henson’s comments and has since released a statement to the media, insisting that he’s more than willing to assist Henson and her son to resolve things.
“I was deeply disturbed to read news reports about a prospective student who felt profiled on or near campus because of his race. We encourage reporting of allegations of bias and I hope for the opportunity to have a conversation with the young man and his mother,” Thomas said. “I would like to look into this matter further and better understand who was involved and what took place. As someone who personally experienced racial profiling as a teenager, I have a stake in learning more about this incident and doing all I can to reach a just resolution.”
“It is not clear to me which police departments were involved. Any allegation of bias or unequal treatment by university officers would trigger an investigation that I would supervise along with the university’s Office of Equity and Diversity. It is my expectation and that of the university that our department uphold the highest standards of constitutional policing, affording equal rights and respect to all persons,” he added.
It’s admirable that the Director has taken it upon himself to offer his cooperation, but I can’t help but wonder if he would have been as receptive if Henson was not a famous actress.