Racial Profiling Essay, Research Paper
The United States is not a healthy democracy
The United States is not a healthy democracy. A basic requirement for any healthy democracy is its founding on the basic principle that all men are created equal. This means that man is judged on the fact that he is man, and only that. There are no other means or factors brought into account. This is not the way men are judged in the United States. In the United States, ethnic and racial generalizations often influence judicial execution.
The attorney general’s office of New Jersey itself released a 112 page preliminary report concluding that many officers may be inadvertently discriminating against minorities in their fervor to stop drug traffickers. This report was based on the findings of an investigation on the tactics of New Jersey highway patrols and what criteria they use in identifying suspicious motorists. Among their findings were that over a four year period, eight out of every ten cars pulled over on a southern stretch of the new jersey turnpike were minorities and forty percent of all traffic stops over a twenty month period involved minorities. In addition, the police themselves admit that race is a factor in how they decide whom to stop and search.
But the problem is not limited to police officers and their behavior; it escalates into a federal judicial issue in which the profiling is deemed constitutional. In the case u.s. v. Weaver, the u.s. court of appeals for the Eighth Circuit upheld the constitutionality of the officer’s actions in using race as a factor (among others) in his decision to stop a potential drug-smuggler. Other courts have agreed with the Eighth Circuit that the constitution does not prohibit using race as a factor when they decide who is a suspect, if this is done for purposes of law enforcement and crime prevention.
Furthermore, there is no visible end to this injustice in the near future since state police leadership has encouraged this racial profiling by giving “trooper of the year” awards to those who make big drug arrests and then failing to monitor whether troopers are disproportionately arresting minorities.
To the credit of the police, it must be said that their actions, however questionable, were done with only the intentions to uphold the law, as was also found in the attorney general’s report, that generally, the officers were not racist and the arrests were not racially motivated, nor were their any claims of racial harassment filed against these same officers.
Taking into account all these facts, listing time and time again how those who are responsible for the upholding of the constitution look at citizens, it is impossible to conclude that the u.s. abides by the principle of equality. And if this fundamental criterion is not met, there can be no healthy democracy.