Racial Profiling Essay Research Paper Rahsaan DeLain

Racial Profiling Essay, Research Paper Rahsaan DeLain Senior Paper Mrs. Carlo The issue of racial profiling in America is one of great importance to the future of American society. This issue fairly new,

Racial Profiling Essay, Research Paper

Rahsaan DeLain Senior Paper

Mrs. Carlo

The issue of racial profiling in America is one of great

importance to the future of American society. This issue fairly new,

in terms of being recognized is old in its ways. Racism and

stereotyping are issues that date back to many years ago. Racial

profiling in America is on that needs to be addressed by the

government and society if we ever want America to truly be, ?The

Land of The Free.?

One of the main examples of racial profiling is called DWB

(Driving While Black). This is a term starting to show itself a lot

in cases of racial profiling. This name is meant to be a shot at he

already known DWI (Driving While Intoxicated). In today?s

society the perception is that most drug traffickers are minorities.

This is very untrue. Racial profiling is based on the premise that

most drug offenses are committed by minorities. Because police

look for drugs primarily among African Americans and Latinos,

they find a uneven number of them actually in possession of

contraband. Therefore these people are arrested, reinforcing the

idea that drug trafficking is primarily an Latino or African

American thing. At the same time white drivers receive far less

police attention, many of the drug dealers and users among them

get away. This just feeds to the perception that whites commit

fewer drug offenses than minorities. This often results in the

persecution of innocent people based on skin color. This also

causes a huge distrust and minorities are less willing to


Driving While Black is not an issue that just arose its just now

gaining a name. The practice of racial profiling by our nations

police is the consequence of the rising concern about the war on

drugs. Drug use and drug selling are not limited to minorities in

the US , in fact five times as many whites use drugs. This war on

drugs since it began targeted minorities. According to the

governments own reports 80 percent of the country?s cocaine

users are white and the ?typical cocaine user is a white middle

class suburbanite.?(Harris 7) But law enforcement tactics are

concentrated in the inner city. This continues to feed the

perception that most drug dealers and users are black. This

prompted the ?drug courier profile,?(Harris 7) with racial

overtones to take hold.

Media coverage of this issue has begun to increase in the last

couple of years or so. In the past year , front page stories and

editorials have appeared in every major national newspaper and

many local papers. Even though media fascination with a

problem doesn?t make it real or lack of media coverage doesn?t

make a problem nonexistent. But because of the many stories

and statistical reports, the lawsuits and even recent action by the

government, make a good argument that , ?driving while black,?

is not just an occasional problem. Some of these stories are

absolutely ridiculous there are so many cases its crazy.

Racial profiling believe it or not is a big problem among the

news media itself. When the media covers a story about drugs

they often show the black drug dealer , abuser , criminal or the

undeserving affirmative action recipient. When we look at the

ways the national media has covered or failed to cover recent

stories or studies we get a better understanding of the practice or

racial profiling in the media. In a recent poll taken by the child

advocay group Children Now the children included said

that,?the news media tends to portray African American and

Latino people more negatively than white and Asian people.

Most of the major news media did not cover this story and the

ones that did said,? that the children were influenced by

television news.? (qtd in media blackface 4)

On of the major and most well known cases of racial profiling

is the case of Amadou Diallo. Four white officers members of

the anti street crime unit fired 41 shots at Diallo hitting him 19

times. The officers contended that they they fired in self defense.

On Feb 4, 199, after Diallo,22, reached for an object they though

was a gun while he was standing in the vestibule of his

apartment. The object turned out to be his wallet. All four

officers were charged with second degree murder as suspended

from there jobs. The officers said that Diallo darted into the

entrance of his building and took a combat stance. He pulled out

what they perceived as a weapon and opened fire on him. The

officers contended that Diallo?s death was a tragic case of self

defense. Charges against them said that they violated department

policies could still result in there firing. They jury of four blacks

and eight whites deliberated for more than 20 hours over three

days before returning the verdict. Not guilty on all counts, 24 in

all, from murder to reckless endangerment.(associated press 1)

This case, when I heard about it and heard the facts I thought for

sure that justice would be served. They shot an unarmed man 19

times and it just seemed to me like that was way too many times.

He didn?t fire back and didn?t charge at them. It seems that they

could have shot him once or twice to wound him and take him

in. They found bullet wounds at the bottom of his feet so he

must have been lying down. This whole case really disturbs me

because the officers could have taken a different action and this

man would still be alive today. The punishment I think should

have been would be for them to be fired and spend some time in

jail. Diallo was just another black man that fit the profile of a

drug dealer simply because he was black.

There was also another case that caught my eye. In

Pennsylvania Johnny Gammage was pulled over while driving

his cousins Jaguar. As Gammage pulled over five police cars

arrived on the scene. One of the officers said that Gammage ran

three red lights before stopping after the officer flashed his lights

at him. The officer told Gammage out of the car and saw him

grab something was reportedly a weapon, but was his cell phone.

The officer knocked the phone out of Gammage?s hand and they

scuffled. The other officers beat Gammage with a flashlight, a

collapsible baton and a blackjack as one put his foot on

Gammage?s neck. Johnny Gammage died , handcuffed , ankles

bound , facedown on the pavement shortly after the incident

began. Again this man was unarmed.

This issue has also been addressed by President Clinton. On

June 9, 1999, he ordered federal law enforcement officials to

collect data on the the race and gender of the people they stop to

question or arrest. President Clinton called racial profiling by

police a , morally indefensible deeply corrosive practice.?(Clinton

associated press 1) He also said that , ? people of color continue

to have less confidence and less trust , and believe they are

targeted for action.?(Clinton associated press 1) Clinton

recounted that he once asked a group of black journalists if they

had ever been stopped by the police and they all raised there


Racial Profiling is a problem that needs to be addressed by the

government and the people of America. I believe that there are

certain steps that should be taken in order to move toward a

better nation. I feel that law enforcement should stop stopping

people on hunches and use evidence to base a stop on. The are

stopping people because of there skin color and that is not right.

For example in 1997 on a California highway out of 34,000 cars

stopped only two percent were found with drugs. The Traffic

Stops Statistics Act needs to be passed because it will require that

all law enforcement collect data on there traffic stops, including

race of the driver. This will give concrete proof that the

percentage of people being stopped are minorities and they are

not the majority carrying the drugs. I also believe that more

training is needed for law enforcement officials. There obviously

is a problem with the current procedures that police officers are

taking. Better or more training should be given to better educate

police officers on how and what to do when they are suspicious.

Many of the cases I read it seems that the officers did not act with

training but with suspicion and that has caused the deaths of

many innocent people. The last step I think is to for law

enforcement to gain the trust of the community. Without this the

will never feel like they can go to the police or feel that justice

will be served when they have been wronged. Innocent people

ared being arrested and even killed on suspicions and because

they fit the profile. While this is going on average white guys like

Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris walk the streets about to kill

somebody and they are never suspected because they are white.

In conclusion, racial profiling is a national problem that is

lessening the trust in the people who are supposed to protect us.

Everyday people of color are scared to do what most people do without

a second thought, drive to wherever they need to go. Our country can

no longer remain the leader of the world in freedom and democracy

when its people are identified as criminals simply because of there skin

color. We cannot afford to ignore this issue any further we must take

action to ensure that this country is truly a free one.