Racial Profiling Essay

Profiling based on race has become a prevalent method that cops and authority figures use to arrest or question an individual. Racial profiling is most noticed on the highways and in airports. Racial profiling occurs when law enforcement or security officials, consciously or unconsciously, subject individuals at any location to heightened scrutiny based solely or in part on race, ethnicity, aboriginality, place of origin, ancestry, or religion, or on stereotypes associated with any of these factors, rather than on objectively reasonable grounds for suspecting that the individual is implicated in criminal activity (Satzewich & Shaffir 199).

The efficiency and legality of profiling is highly debated. Profiling occurs in neighborhoods, schools, and in businesses. Young black men driving expensive cars along a commonly used drug route or in a troubled community, an Arab trying to fly into or out of the United States, and Hispanics near the border are all commonly targeted by public officials for an unprovoked arrest or detention (Korsmeyer & Kranzler 317). In Maryland, African Americans made up 17. percent of the driving population, but 77 percent of the people police pulled over and searched were African American (Korsmeyer & Kranzler 318). Statistics from New Jersey found that 77 percent of the people who were stopped and searched were African American or Hispanic even though they do not even comprise 30 percent of the population (Korsmeyer & Kranzler 318) Source: U. S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, National Crime Victimization Survey Police officers generally use one of three methods for avoiding the blame of racial profiling.

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Intolerance of intolerance occurs when police deflect the blame by assuring the accuser of their commitment to diversity, tolerance, and fairness (Satzewich & Shaffir 212). The officer in question often refers to initiatives and organizational structure adaptation to deal with the issue of racial profiling and how they are effective at reducing its occurrence. The multicultural society deflection is, “the claim that the police could not possibly engage in racial profiling because their recruitment mechanisms are better than they were in the past, and they are ow more attuned to diversity. ” (Satzewich & Shaffir 215). Current officers argue that racial profiling is not an issue due to the fact that the recruiting and training processes to become a police officer have become increasingly difficult and have increased in racial and cultural diversity. A growth in diversity in the cultural society is used to prove that officers are getting progressively accustomed to living in a multiethnic society. They are trained to be more tolerant and mindful of the diversity that exists in the United States.

Blaming the victim is the third method police and officials use to deflect the accusations of racial profiling (Satzewich & Shaffir 217). This method suggests that if there is a problem, then it is somebody else’s fault. Some interviewed officers claimed that the people who blame the police force for enforcing racial profiling are often uneducated on the matter, biased against the police, or form opinions based on inaccurate TV shows (Satzewich & Shaffir 217). Racial Profiling is defined by the U. S.

Department of Justice and includes only racial actions between the police and citizens. There definition is, “ racial profiling is defined as any police- initiated action that relies on race, ethnicity, or national origin rather than the behavior of an individual or information that leads police to a particular individual or information that leads police to a particular individual who has been identified as being or having been engaged in criminal activity” (Pampel 5). This theory regarding racial profiling has many important aspects.

The first major aspect to notice is that it mentions police-initiated actions. Local police, state police, federal immigration officers, custom officers, law enforcement officials, and security guards all are included in this definition of racial profiling. People often assert that racial profiling should not be limited to solely police actions. Minorities are subject to discrimination and profiling in every aspect of society. Whether it is a conscious decision or a subconscious decision, many people discriminate against others in some manner.

Teachers are inconsistent when punishing students and assigning discipline to students of different races, store clerks overtly watch certain races more than others and may even refuse to serve them, and taxi drivers profile when picking up passengers (Vincent, Tobin, Hawken, & Frank 431). Studies have concluded that African American students receive a higher number of office referrals, receive harsher consequences for the referrals, and have a higher probability of being expelled or suspended (Vincent, Tobin, Hawken, & Frank 431).

This is a prime example of racial profiling in our school systems. African Americans and Hispanics have comparatively higher dropout rates, and they show a higher level of stress and anxiety while in middle school and high school (Vincent, Tobin, Hawken, & Frank 431). Racial profiling causes complete racial groups and minorities to be subjected to unjustifiable consequences, searches, arrests, and detention (Batten 234). It creates feelings of distrust and uneasiness between society and law enforcement officials.

Distrust among society and public law enforcement reduces public support of police agencies and creates tension between the targeted minorities and the majority of the population. There are many concerns about profiling, but three specific issues seem to be prevalent in any argument regarding racial profiling. The most common issues are the use of race as a motive to investigate an individual, police abuse, and the irregular profiling of African Americans and other minorities (Batten 234).

Racial profiling would not be as debated if people in the majority were racially profiled in proportionate ratio with people in the minorities. Profiling is emphasized when it is paired with unjustified police force, derogatory insults, brutal force, or bodily injury. Evidence that police brutality has occurred as a result of racial profiling is hard to validate. It is difficult to obtain enough evidence, to judge how often it occurs, and the severity of the profiling and the abuse.

Profiling disproportionately targets minorities. This fact is the central conflict regarding racial profiling because it should affect every race almost equally. Profiling becomes disproportionate when the amount of people found guilty of a crime is negligible in comparison to the amount of people in that race that were questioned or arrested. If twenty five percent of the population is African American, and officials know that sixty percent of a certain crime is committed by African Americans, then police should conclude hat African Americans are almost two and a half times more likely to commit that crime in comparison to the population of that area. This number is found by dividing the percentage of African Americans in the population by the percentage of crimes committed by that race. Although this produces a definite figure for officials to follow, it does produce possible negative consequences. Majority race members now have a lower probability of being pulled over while committing the same crime (Ryberg 80).

If officials are pulling over African Americans in expensive cars because they are suspected of transporting drugs, then a white male in an expensive car who is transporting illegal drugs has a higher chance of escaping the scrutiny of the police officials. The use of profiling in law enforcement agencies is typically an ineffective method for preventing and catching criminals. The negative outcomes it produces outweigh any of the positive results that do come from profiling based on race. Profiling inevitably leads to racial profiling which creates tension in society.

It builds tension between minorities, troubled neighborhoods, and law enforcement officials (Ryberg 82). The trust that citizens have in police will diminish, and law suits regarding unlawful arrests could increase. The targeted minorities’ feelings of resentment toward the majority population can grow because often the majority commits the same crime, but officials are not looking for it. White male drug carriers observe that black males are being arrested and searched for suspected drug trafficking, so they may enlist more white males to commit the crime (Ryberg 80).

Racial profiling has spread to schools and other areas of society, and it has become a subconscious influence in the decision making process. Research has proven the teachers subconsciously or consciously have assigned disciplinary action to minorities such as blacks and Hispanics more frequently than to white students (Vincent, Tobin, Hawken, & Frank 432). The disciplinary action assigned to these students are often more harsh than the punishment assigned to white students for the same infringement (Vincent, Tobin, Hawken, & Frank 432). There are other areas where racial profiling can occur in our society.

Cab drivers use racial profiling and other forms of profiling to avoid picking up certain people that they view as more dangerous or less likely to leave a tip. Convenient stores overtly watch certain races because they consider them to be more suspicious characters who may steal at a higher rate than other customers. Doctors also participate in racial profiling. Certain races are more likely to test positive for different traits or diseases, so doctors may run specific tests on different races. Racial profiling is a common occurrence in our society, and it is often viewed negatively.

It creates unnecessary tensions between societies and individuals, and it has escalated into an accepted occurrence in everyday life. Children are exposed to the effects of racial profiling in schools often without even realizing that it is occurring, and they grow accustomed to it at a younger age. Minorities are being subjected to unprovoked arrests while the majority of the population learns to maneuver around law enforcement because of racial profiling. Measures are being taken to eliminate profiling, but it is difficult to eliminate something that is often a subconscious part of society’s decision making process.

Work Cited

Batten, Donna. “Racial Profiling. ” American Law. 3rd ed. Vol. 8. Detroit: Gale, 2010. 233-38. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 16 Oct. 2012. Korsmeyer, Pamala, and Henry R. Kranzler. “Racial Profiling. ” Racial Profiling 3. 3rd Ed. (2009): 317-20. Gale. Web. 5 Nov. 2012. Pampel, Fred C. “Racial Profiling. ” Academic Search Complete. EBSCO, 2004. Web. 16 Oct. 2012. Ryberg, Jesper. “Racial Profiling and Criminal Justice. ” Journal of Ethics 15. 1/2 (2011): 79-88. Academic Search Complete. Web. 28 Nov. 2012. Satzewich, Vic, and William Shaffir. Racism versus Professionalism: Claims and Counter-Claims about Racial Profiling1. ” Canadian Journal of Criminology & Criminal Justice 51. 2 (2009): 199-226. Academic Search Complete. Web. 28 Nov. 2012. Vincent, Claudia G. , Tary J. Tobin, Leanne S. Hawken, and Jennifer L. Frank. “Disipline Referrals and Access to Secondary Level Support in Elementary and Middle Schools: Patterns across African- American, Hispanic- American and White Students. ” Education & Treatment of Children 35. 3 (2012): 431-58. EBSCOhost. Web. 5 Nov. 2012.

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