Racial Profiling: Is it Intentional? Can We Correct it?

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Racial profiling is a wide spread term in the American justice system today, but what does it really mean? Is racial profiling just a term cooked up by criminals looking for a way to get out of trouble and have a scapegoat for their crimes? Is it really occurring in our justice system, and if so is it done intentionally? Most importantly, if racial profiling exists what steps do we take to correct it? The answer to these questions are almost impossible to find, racial profiling is one of many things within our justice system that can be disputed from any angle and has no clear cut answers. All that can be done is to study it from different views and sources and come up with one’s own conclusion on the issue.

Racial profiling, as defined in Criminal Justice Today is, “Any police-initiated action that relies on the race, ethnicity, or national origin, rather than the behavior of the individual…” (Schmalleger, 2009, p. 294) but is racial profiling limited only to police action? In June off 2002 a telephone survey of adults was conducted by the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, University of Connecticut, in this survey people were asked, “Do you think that African Americans’ civil rights are being respected by the country’s criminal justice system?” 69% of Non-Hispanic Whites said, “Yes, they are respected.” as opposed to 33% of African Americans that think the justice system is fair. (Cole & Smith, 2007, p. 104) What causes this huge percentage gap among the races? Within our criminal justice system there are many disparities and cases of suspected discrimination, because of that our country is race divided on the issue of whether or not discrimination exists in a system perceived as the best of it’s kind.

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...e odds of being searched were 50% higher for black drivers and 42% higher for Hispanic drives than for white drivers. These actions took place despite a finding that white drivers were more likely than minority drivers to be carrying contraband. (p. 78)

While an officer cannot tell from simply looking at a driver if the person is licensed, insured, a legal citizen, in possession of drugs or committing some other crime they can tell by looking at the driver or passenger the persons race. As statistics show here police use race to sort out who they want to investigate and who they do not. As a consequence, every member of specified groups become potential victims of racial profiling. In a country where civil rights have been disputed for well over 100 years it is a tragedy that we can still not find equal treatment for all men within the governing law of the land

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