Racial Profiling Essay, Research Paper
Racial profiling is a law enforcement strategy that encourages police officers to stop and question African-Americans simply because of their race. Employers and government agencies that require job applicants to list their “race” or “ethnicity” on employment and contracting applications perform racial profiling thousands of times every day. Thus employers can hire the right number of the right colors, according to federal law. This is defined as “good” racial profiling. “Bad” racial profiling occurs when a minority is stopped or arrested by police. The guilt of the individual doesn’t seem to figure into the accusation of “bad” racial profiling.
Racial profiling took off during the highly publicized explosion of crack cocaine in inner-city neighborhoods in the 1980s, which bolstered the perception of drugs as a black problem — even though statistics showed most cocaine users were white. Drug enforcement agencies began using racial profiling to “sweep” neighborhoods and in arresting disproportionate numbers of African-Americans for drug-related offences. A profile of potential drug users and sellers was developed to assist policemen in picking out and questioning likely offenders. These profiles continue to be used by law enforcement in combating crime.
The current debate on racial profiling has been tied to allegations of police brutality and institutional racism. In response to one shooting of an unarmed black man by a police officer, video cameras were installed in police cruisers in Montgomery and Prince Georges counties in Maryland. A four-year investigation of alleged police brutality in Montgomery County by the Department of Justice resulted in demands that officers must ask drivers their age, sex and race, and then compile that data for regular reports as a way of monitoring future police behavior toward minority suspects.
Tens of thousands of innocent motorists on highways across the country are victims of racial profiling. And these discriminatory police stops have reached epidemic proportions in recent years – fueled by the “War on Drugs” that has given police a pretext to target people who they think fit a “drug courier” or “gang member” profile. Racial profiling is unfair to minorities as well as not any help to anyone.