An Argument Against Racial Profiling

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"I don't want to talk about whether or not racial profiling is legal. Racial profiling is not an effective law enforcement tool." -- Eric Holder, 82nd Attorney General of the United States

Before any argument can be made against racial profiling, it is important to understand what racial profiling is. The American Civil Liberties Union, defines racial profiling as "the discriminatory practice by law enforcement officials of targeting individuals for suspicion of crime based on the individual's race, ethnicity, religion or national origin"(Racial Profiling: Definition). Using this definition we can determine that racial profiling excludes any evidence of wrong-doing and relies solely on the characteristics listed above. We can also see that racial profiling is different from criminal profiling, which uses evidence of wrong-doing and facts which can include information obtained from outside sources and evidence gathered from investigation. Based on these definitions, I will show that racial profiling is unfair and ineffective because it relies on stereotyping, encourages discrimination, and in many cases can be circumvented.

There have been many studies and case reports involving racial profiling, particularly racial profiling issues involving traffic stop and seizures. In a study done of reports on the stop-and-searches done on Interstate 95 in Maryland, it was found that 28.4 percent of black drivers and passengers and 28.8 percent of white drivers and passengers stopped were found with illegal contraband. (U.S. Department of Justice) The disparity between the two statistics is a mere .4 percent and shows that race is not an issue. Further reading into the seventy one page report written by the U.S. Department of Justice sho...

... middle of paper ... Definition." The American Civil Liberties Union. Web. 18 June 2015.

Derbyshire, John. "In Defence of Racial Profiling." 2001. Web. 18 June 2015.

Nomani, Asra Q. "Is racial or religious profiling ever justified?" 18 April 2011. Web. 18 June 2015.

Schneier, Bruce. "Will Profiling Make a Difference?" 2010. New York Times: Room for Debate. Web. 18 June 2015.

U.S. Department of Justice. "A Resource Guide on Racial Profiling Data Collection Systems." December 2000. U.S. Department of Justice. Web. 18 June 2015.

In this essay, the author

  • Asks, is racial or religious profiling ever justified?
  • Analyzes schneier, bruce, "will profiling make a difference?" 2010, new york times: room for debate.
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