What is racial profiling precisely? Harmonizing to Macmillan Dictionary, racial profiling is: “ the pattern of believing that people of a peculiar race or colour will act in a peculiar manner, particularly in a condemnable manner ” .

This research paper will concentrate on racial profiling, but more specifically, how authorities functionaries and jurisprudence enforcement officers in today ‘s society usage racial profiling for security intents. The research inquiry, which the research paper will concentrate on and hopefully at the terminal of the paper will hold answered, is: Is the pattern of racial profiling effectual towards public safety, or is it wholly prejudiced and unethical? Racial Profiling has existed for about a century, but has been on the head of authorities concerns and media attending of all time since September 11th, 2001. Governments and jurisprudence enforcement officers have become highly rigorous on finding who is likely to perpetrate a peculiar offense or illegal act, particularly in airdromes and other transit installations, peculiarly in the United Sates of America. This research paper will seek and reply the research inquiry by looking at two societal scientific discipline subjects, these subjects are: History and sociology.

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Researching the history of racial profiling will assist better understand when racial profiling began and how it became so practiced in today ‘s society. Looking at racial profiling in a sociological point of position will assist analyze society and it ‘s development and construction.We wonder sometimes if racial profiling is assisting society, or if it is really harming it by giving equality, a important twentieth century value. My hypothesis is that at the terminal of this research paper I will continuously believe that racial profiling does non really salvage more lives when practiced because it is unethical to penalize a whole race for the offenses that merely a few persons have committed.

General Information on Racial Profiling

Before anything, it is of import to acquire a clear definition of racial profiling in a jurisprudence enforcement position: “ Racial profiling occurs whenever a jurisprudence enforcement officer inquiries, Michigans, hunts, or otherwise investigates a individual because the officer believes that members of that individual ‘s racial or cultural group are more likely than the population at big to perpetrate the kind of offense the officer is look intoing ” ( Gross, 2002 ) .

The populace has many different positions on racial profiling. There have been different studies conducted throughout the old ages on this issue. In 1999 a Gallop study found that: ” 59 per centum of grownups polled agreed that ‘some constabulary officers stop automobilists of certain racial or cultural groups because the officers believe that these groups are more likely than others to perpetrate certain types of offenses, ‘ Seventy-seven per centum of inkinesss agreed with the statement, compared to 56 per centum of Whites ; nevertheless, 80 per centum of both groups disapproved of the pattern. ” ( Ward, 2002 )Establishing public policy entirely on the blessing or the disapproval of the populace is non in any manner a legitimate mean for regulating a society. Any policy, racial profiling included, should be weighed both with regard to public sentiment and with regard to the demand to protect the rights of persons.[ 1 ]In any instance, by the late 1990 ‘s there seemed to be a public consensus that mostly disagreed with the pattern of racial profiling.

In 1999 every bit much as 81 % of Americans, based on that peculiar canvass, stood against the pattern of “ racial profiling ” ( Gross 202, p. 1413 ) . Unfortunately people, in times of crisis, are prone to both give up their rights and to seek to deprive others of their rights[ 2 ].

With regard to racial profiling, the minute that triggered these beliefs was September 11, 2001. The hideous terrorist onslaughts, allegedly perpetrated by Muslim groups, provoked a great alteration in the sentiment of the American people sing the acceptableness and proper topographic point of racial profiling.[ 3 ]The alteration was non merely limited to the populace.

President George Bush himself ordered Attorney General John Ashcroft “ to reexamine the usage by federal jurisprudence enforcement governments of race as a factor in carry oning Michigans, hunts and other fact-finding processs ” ( Ward 2002, p. 727 ) . By late 2001 58 % of Americans agreed that Arabs, both U.S.

citizens and otherwise, should be capable to increased intuition and probe.[ 4 ]Since 9/11 the U.S.

authorities has had a slightly official policy of profiling Arabs and the policy has been long practiced in local jurisprudence enforcement legal powers.[ 5 ]

Media Portrayals of Racial Profiling

The media, T.V. , intelligence, and Internet seem to be doing the issues of racial profiling worse. Many people absorb stereotypes of racial and cultural minorities due to the manner these people are depicted in the media. This in bend affects the manner these same people feel about the policy in general.

For illustration, in the offense subdivisions of newspapers, “ cultural minorities are the cardinal focal point of offense characteristics and are therefore portrayed as the premier beginning of offense in our state ” ( Henry 2007 ) . Very frequently the ethnicity of the victims of these offenses, themselves minorities are non given, promoting the stereotype. Peoples of colour are about ever the felons and Whites are about ever the victims ( when the victim is shown ) . This general imagination promotes the pattern of racial profiling among jurisprudence enforcement and legitimizes it in the eyes of the populace[ 6 ].

This inclination in the media: “ consequences [ in a ] miscommunication by the reader who assumes that the images and facts portrayed are representations or racial groups as a whole ” ( Henry,2007 ) . The media wholly distorts the manner people think. The images of 9/11 and the Arab terrorists who caused it did nil more than to greatly underscore the “ demand ” for racial profiling.

Ethical Issues Concerning Racial Profiling

Looking at the definition of racial profiling given earlier, it is apparent that racial profiling goes wholly against modern, that is 20th century, impressions of equality. If we look at the ethical issues refering racial profiling from an American position ( sing the American fundamental law ) , it is clear that look intoing, particularly collaring, cultural minorities on the footing of their race, with no other particularised motivation is a direct misdemeanor to the “ 14th Amendment ‘s Equal Protection Clause “ ( Gross 2002, ) . Law enforcement and authorities in general must develop policies which allow for limited targeting of racial or cultural groups merely in specific instances and where there exist specific grounds or informant testimony[ 7 ]. Public safety is of import, but it may non come at the disbursal of single rights.Equally good as go againsting the 14th amendment, racial profiling violates but the 4th amendment.

The 4th amendment provinces that the “ right of the people to be secure in their individuals, houses, documents and effects, against unreasonable hunt and ictuss, shall non be violated and no Warrants shall publish, but upon likely cause, supported by Oath and Affirmation, and peculiarly depicting the topographic points to be searched and the individuals or things to be seized ” ( Gross 2002, ) . It is noticeable that there is a terrible issue with racial profiling or when there are biased judgements based on a individual ‘s tegument colour.Besides the fact that racial profiling goes against the twentieth century impressions of equality, racial profiling is besides seen as morally incorrect. Racial profiling causes many jobs in a society. One large job is the fact that leting jurisprudence enforcement bureaus to pattern racial profiling, “ promotes the internal segregation of suspects within the heads of the population, and it creates a second-class citizenship for black and Hispanic Americans ” ( Head, 2008 ) . With all of this information, it is easy to state that when an officer stops a individual at a traffic halt or any other transit installation with no justifiable ground, civil rights are violated.

Historical Analysis of Racial Profiling

Although most people believe that racial profiling is a really new construct and that it merely began a few decennaries ago, this pattern has been used for centuries. Racial profiling has existed practically from the beginning of clip.

There have been many events in history where we can see the pattern of racial profiling. For case in 1514, King Charles mandated that all indigens of the Americas must either subject to Spanish authorization and convert to Roman Catholicism or face persecution.[ 8 ]Though there are many incidents where racial profiling occurred before the seventeenth century, surveies show that racism truly took clasp in the 1800 ‘s in the Unites States.“ African Americans have suffered favoritism on evidences of race, ab initio through the system of bondage and so through a form of exclusion and segregation, both informal and formal, in the form of statute law and tribunal determinations that have historically endorsed open racial favoritism. From the clip of the origin of bondage in the early seventeenth Century until 1865, slaves were considered the belongings of their Masterss based on a position that they were of course unequal and inferior people ” ( Banks, 2004 ) .

Today, racial profiling is highly apparent in our society, particularly after 9/11. This is likely why racial profiling is known as a twentieth century political orientation because it was truly sparked merely a few old ages ago. When you hear the term racial profiling, September 11th is normally what comes to mind.

Following the September 11th onslaughts, “ the Bush disposal rounded up an unknown figure of Middle Eastern adult females and work forces on intuition of being associated with terrorist groups. Some were deported ; some are released ; 100s captured overseas remain captive in Guantanamo Bay, where they remain captive without test to this twenty-four hours ” ( Gross, 2002 ) .The Sept. 11 onslaughts were said to be the start of a new age of international terrorist act in America.

Ever since the onslaughts, most of North American has this Irrational Anxiety and it is brought about by media ballyhoo, false dismaies, and other events that result in confusion and denial[ 9 ]. It increases a sense of insecurity and interferes with production and efficiency.

Sociological Analysis of Racial Profiling

Sociology is the survey of a society, hence looking at racial profiling signifier a sociological position would intend analyzing the grounds why racial profiling has become so adept and it ‘s effects on society.As mentioned earlier, racial profiling has existed for centuries but has been on the head of society ‘s concerns for about 10 old ages. Previously mentioned, the September 11 onslaughts are what sparked the irrational fright of terrorist act, doing the usage of racial profiling to detonate.

When a state is in a frenetic fright they are willing to travel through highly drastic steps to be safe once more, and in this instance, it is racial profiling. When constabulary stop person at a traffic halt due to their race, they are prosecuting in pigeonholing, they are generalising about a certain race and this can do many negative effects on a society. Stereotypes are n’t ever bad, if used at a moderate sum, they allow people to larn about different civilizations.

However, when the authorities in the signifier of racial profiling uses stereotypes, there can be some destructive effects to a society. A state ‘s authorities can be really influential over it ‘s citizens, for that ground if a state ‘s authorities openly uses racial profiling, its citizens might prosecute in the same behaviour.Racial profiling can do much harm to a society.

Racial profiling done by the authorities causes people to know apart and utilize stereotypes towards specific races. The victims of favoritism and racial profiling can stop up with emotional harm and loss of self-esteem. The victims might besides revenge against their authorities and those that discriminate against them.

It is non merely the victims that are affected negatively due to racial profiling, but besides the ‘person ‘ making the racial profiling and stereotyping. Peoples that engage in inordinate stereotyping and racial profiling close their head to new possibilities, and are unable to larn, and make relationships with people of a peculiar race[ 10 ]. “ Stereotypes, bias and favoritism can all function to sabotage the moral operation of our meritocracy, as single attempts are frequently overshadowed by inaccurate perceptual experiences and unjust outlooks. ” ( Higgins, 2009 )


First, before analysing all the information on racial profiling it is of import to inquire ourselves one more inquiry: “ Does racial profiling really protect our society? ” Harmonizing to many different articles, racial profiling causes more injury than anything else. The authorities locks up 1000s of guiltless people each twelvemonth, due to racial profiling. Racial profiling has so many negative effects that it overpowers the really littlepart of positive 1s. Deep down, people know that racial profiling is incorrect, and this was shown antecedently in the 1999 Gallop study, where most of the population disagreed with the usage of racial profiling.

But now, since there is this fright of terrorist act chiefly because of 9/11, people have seemed to bury what they believed in, which was equality.It was decidedly interesting to see how racial profiling is non a new construct, and has been practiced for 100s of old ages. But, what was decidedly most surprising was the fact that we, as human existences have evolved an incomprehensible sum and have fought continuously for rights, freedom and equality and now in 2010, seem to be traveling backwards, and depriving off the freedom of specific groups of people all over once more.

Though stated earlier, my hypothesis was: “ that at the terminal of this research paper I will continuously believe that racial profiling does non really salvage more lives when practiced because it is unethical to penalize a whole race for the offenses that merely a few persons have committed ” . Now that it is the terminal of the research paper, non merely does my sentiments still stand but now with all of the information learned my belief that: racial profiling does non really salvage more lives when practiced, is a much firmer belief. I genuinely believe racial profiling by authoritiess and jurisprudence functionaries make the issues of pigeonholing and favoritism in a society well greater, and destroys more lives than it purportedly “ saves ” .


To reason, racial profiling is a really of import issue in today ‘s society and its usage demands to be overlooked.

It is wholly unethical to judge person and assume person ‘s actions because of the colour of his or her tegument. Racial profiling is happening all across the Earth and does non look to be decreasing. Racial profiling demands to stop, so that slowly favoritism and stereotyping can diminish in our society, and other societies across the universe. If racial profiling continues in this mode, future coevalss will be brought up in a universe full of racism and equality, which is an political orientation that we ‘ve become accustomed, excessively, will no longer be.