Racial Profiling in America

Racial Profiling in America

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In today’s world we live in a very media driven manner. The media can sway people’s attitudes towards a certain direction depending on the circumstances. Racial Profiling is a very sensitive topic every individual can relate to. It is known as the inclusion of racial or ethnic characteristics in determining whether an individual is considered likely to commit a particular type of crime or illegal act. For example, the media has “essentialized” the meaning of terrorism destroying the sweet religion of Islam. The word essentializing means to combine complex terms into a single thought or image making it simpler. Due to racial profiling we regard terrorists as any type of brown male. It is the society we live in and hence we have no choice to deal with it.
What exactly does the term racial profiling meaning? One could say that it is the consideration of race in criminal investigations. “For example, the popular term “DWB”, means that black people are more scrutinized and thought of when driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (Geek). It is also a state of imagery that comes to mind when thinking of a crime; one tends to think of African Americans as the cause of most crimes. It is very unfair for them but that is the society we live in. Even though many “Black People” do live in the ghettos, it is unjust to tie them with most crimes such as gang wars, drive by shootings and thefts. The media contributes to 90 percent of these stereotypes (Geek). Like in the inner city African Americans are criticized for their actions, while the Latin Americans are blamed for most drug

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deals. Derogatory terms such as nigger and spic are all part of the racial profiling debacle (Harris).
Racial profiling has made its stamp in communities. On one side we have the bad where we tend to classify certain individuals into stereotypical groups. But on the other hand we have applications of racial profiling to help select certain minority groups for appropriate occupations and universities (Mccarthy). As former prosecutor, Andy McCarthy, took some terms of racial profiling into his own hand. He stated that “you can’t be an Islamist terrorist without being a Muslim, you can’t be the head of the Gambino Family without being Italian, and you can’t be a Mexican illegal alien without being a Mexican (Mccarthy).” Yes, his argument is up for debate but usually these are the people associated with the associated crimes. Coining certain people with specific crimes is the way our society works (Meeks). Conversely, one can look at it as from an educational standpoint. Are all brown people doctors, are all African Americans athletes? There is a good and bad to racial profiling. But it is up to the individual to correctly determine how she or she wants to define it.
One might wonder how racial profiling started. The term was first coined in the 1970’s while punishing drug traffickers (Justice). In 1985, the Drug Enforcement Administration created a program called Operation Pipeline. This program was constituted of police officers who were trained in a specific manner to target individuals who drove in certain areas based on their age and race (Meeks). The famous racial profiling case White vs. Williams represents this cause, where minority motorists were stopped along the New Jersey Turnpike (Justice). Thus, the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey had a major victory in its legal efforts to end
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racial profiling when the court refused to dismiss a claim that state officials acted with deliberate indifference to evidence of discrimination against minority motorists. Basically the DEA program was created to prevent drug trafficking, but the police started to unfairly arrest more African American and Hispanic male drivers based on the suspicion of committing the crime (Justice). However, throughout decades of research and training police are now better equipped to make such judgments. That is not to say some officers can be prejudice against a certain group, but more or less the inferences of criminals based on race has improved.
Racial profiling is a very wide subject. One can come up with numerous examples stating its advantages and disadvantages. We can make a case that in post 9/11 era that racial profiling towards certain groups has increased in a negative manner. The media has destroyed the Islamic religion calling it evil due to terrorist activity. Unfairly Islam is now mixed with the word terrorism. There have been numerous cases where officials had suspected random terrorist action by catching the wrong person. For instance, take the Diallo case of 1999 where Cops shot a random man who was an immigrant because they thought he fit the description of another colored rapist in the area (Fritsch). The cops knocked on his door and while the man reached to get his wallet from his pocket the cops shot him thinking that he was armed (Fritsch). This case could be perceived as the highest point of negative racial profiling. But it is the situation some individuals have put themselves in to give a bad name to the people of their color. Osama Bin Laden has killed the people of his race indirectly. Though racial profiling can be helpful in certain cases it is inaccurate most of the time. Racial Profiling is pretty much a blatant stereotype. The media will always use it to prove their cause. However, society must realize that every race is like a deck of cards. Some are 2’s, 3’s, and 4’s while others are aces and kings
even without one on those cards the deck is incomplete. That is how our society should be viewed. We cannot hate or discriminate based on race, but sadly in our world perception beat reality creating unequivocal problems.

Works Cited

Fritsch, Jane. ".THE DIALLO VERDICT: THE OVERVIEW." New York Times 26 February 2000, weekend ed print.
Mccarthy, Andy. "On Racial Profiling." TRUE/SLANT. TRUE SLANT, n.d. Web. 12 May 2010. .
"Operations Pipeline and Convoy." U.S DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINSITRATION. JUSTICE, n.d. Web. 12 May 2010. .
"Wise Geek." What is Racial Profiling?. Wise Geek,. Web. 16 May 2010. .
Meeks, Kenneth. Driving While Black. New York: Broadway Books, 2000. Pg35
Harris, David. Profiles in Injustice: Why Racial Profiling Cannot Work. Chicago: W W Norton & Co Inc , 2001. Pg 40
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