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Baldini Junior English 11 Honors 28 March 2011 All about Why Racial Profiling is Bad Racial profiling has raised controversial questions about whether it is a fair concept and whether it is ethically right to do this to people based on their race. As said in the book Crimes and Criminals Opposing Viewpoints, “racial profiling is any use of race, religion, ethnicity, or national origin by law enforcement agents as a means of deciding who should be investigated, except where these characteristics are part of a specific suspect description” (53). In other words racial profiling is singling out a person based on their race and pulling them over for minor offenses to then conduct searches of their vehicles. The police assume that since they are not a white American that they have drugs or weapons in their cars. The book Criminal Justice Opposing Viewpoints said that “the concept of racial profiling began in the late 80’s and early 90’s” (45). I feel that racial profiling is bad because first of all it is racist. No one should be discriminated against because of their race and background, and everyone has the right to be treated equally under the law. While there are many ethnic groups involved in racial profiling, a majority of people feel that racial profiling focuses only on just black people. As stated in the book Criminal Justice Opposing Viewpoints, “prior to 9/11, African Americans, Native Americans, and Latinos were often the targets of police profiling. And since the 9/11 attacks, law enforcement has intensified the profiling and harassment of South Asians, Muslims and Arabs…” (46). This quote shows that ever since the incident on September 11th, many more ethnic groups, especially Arabs in the Middle East and not just African Americans, have become subjected to racial profiling because
Cole 2 of a few extremists’ actions which make many feel that all people who look like them are criminals. In addition, other victims of racial profiling, “include Native Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, African Americans, Arab Americans, Iranian Americans, American Muslims, and many immigrants” (Amnesty International USA). This quote shows us that not only are black people profiled by the police, but many other ethnic groups around the world are as well. In some circumstances, though rare, White Americans are victims of racial
profiling too. Overall, all types of people in the world are affected by racial profiling in some way or another. Although some are more targeted than others, it does not make a difference on the fact that it is wrong. No one race is superior to another in the eyes of the law and no one event should make one group of people more subjected to being profiled. Race continues to be a controversy when it comes to law and more specifically laws of motor vehicles. In America whites make up a majority of the population but when it comes to being pulled over, searched, ticketed, or ultimately arrested, they are subjected to this the least by police, percentage wise. In 2002, only 8.7% of white drivers were pulled over out of the 12, 842, 254 white drivers on the road. On the other hand, 9.1% of black drivers were pulled over out of the 1, 852, 086 black drivers (Criminal Justice: Opposing Viewpoints). In 2005, another survey was taken about drivers and percentages comparing white people and drivers of other races. The percentage of people likely to be pulled over while driving over the age of 24; blacks: 11.2%, whites 8.9%. When it comes to drivers being stopped for speeding and being ticketed blacks had the highest at 75.7%, and whites were only 66.6%. When police were conducting searches for being pulled over in traffic stops for males blacks accounted for 15.9%, Hispanics 14.2%, and whites only 7.9%. When it comes to drivers being stopped by police and arrested blacks constitute 5.2%, and whites 2.6%. (Crimes and Criminals: Opposing Viewpoints). According to the Uniform Crime Reports (UCR), “blacks accounted for 27% of arrests in 2002 even though
Cole 3 they were only 13% of the population, and whites and Hispanics were accounted for 71% of arrests but were 81% of the population…blacks were more than twice as likely to be arrested as whites and Hispanics.” All of these surveys show how other races, especially blacks, are treated worse and profiled more than white people and that although white people make up most of the population, they are targeted less than any other race by the police. This is not fair, for no one race should be pulled over more because of their race, and this should be changed, starting with how police are trained in regards to race and traffic stops. Many police stations have trained their officers to pull over certain people based on their looks. Under Operation Pipeline in 1985, “police were trained to pull people over based on age, race, and targeted black and Hispanic male drivers. The police would pull them over for a traffic violation as a pretext to see if they have drugs.” Police assume that people of races other than whites will have drugs in their car, “even though officers…found more drugs when they searched whites (17%), then African Americans (8%) of the time”, according to the Department of Justice in 1999. In addition, a survey in New Jersey said that, “people of color (are) searched more often, but only found drugs in the cars of African Americans 13% of the time and Latinos 5% of the time as opposed to whites 25% of the time.” This also proves that drugs are found in the car of whites more often than any other race, even though people of other races are pulled over purposely to see if they have drugs. This inequality bestowed upon by the police on minority ethnic groups in regards to having to pull people over here in America is unacceptable and thus police training needs to be reformed. Police are not taking the right approach about this issue and it can have harmful results and “can have devastating and deadly consequences because victims of racial profiling are sometimes further victimized by acts of police violence and brutality” (Racial Profiling: Seven Facts). There are stories that can prove such brutality and there needs to be a new protocol in place or else more innocent victims will die.
Cole 4 One situation of such brutality involved Santiago. Santiago was a black, epileptic man who was killed by police. The police, who pulled him over, thought he had drugs on the floor of his car so they threw him on the ground, placed a knee on his back and caused him to stop breathing. He was unconscious, so they gave him oxygen. He did gain consciousness for a short while, but then died in the hospital while handcuffed. (Racial Profiling: Seven Facts). This shows how police can take something too far and in the end kill someone based off “suspicion” and no evidence. Another example is what happened to Robert Wilkins, an African American who was attending Harvard to become an attorney, on May of 1992. Robert and three other family members were pulled over on the interstate highway in Maryland for speeding. The officer asked for consent to search the car but Robert knew his rights and refused. The officer made Robert and his family stand outside in the rain for almost an hour until a police dog came and sniffed out the vehicle for drugs. When nothing was found, the officer gave Robert a ticket and left. Robert found out that he was pulled over because he and his family fit the racial description used by the Maryland State Police to pull people over for drugs; Robert was a male, black and driving a rental vehicle. (51, Crime and Criminal Opposing Viewpoints). These two incidents show that police not only abuse their power and those minorities in which they pull over for minor infractions if any but they cannot always assume that people of certain profiles and races are breaking the law and should not treat them differently. The Constitution says that everyone is created equally and is seen as equals under the law and this is by no means an exception, but when it comes to the public opinion of racial profiling has a negative connotation. While some feel racial profiling is a good thing, a majority of people here in America feel it is unacceptable and racist. Different surveys have been taken and each show completely different results about whether people agree or disagree with racial profiling. First, a survey said
Cole 5 that, “66% of whites and 71% of African-Americans support the ethnic profiling of people who look to be middle-eastern decent” (Racial Profiling in an Age of Terrorism) and after 9/11 another survey said that, “60% of Americans support racial profiling of Arabs at airports…” (2021, Discrimination). These two polls show that people support racial profiling, when talking about Arabs/middle-eastern decent with the condition of 9/11 applied, but no other race. A different survey released on December 9th, 1999 reveals that, “over 50% of those polled believed that the police were engaged in racial profiling; and 81% said that they disapprove this” (History of Racial Profiling Analysis). This survey shows that people feel that racial profiling is wrong and that everyone should be treated the same. Overall people feel that it is morally wrong, but when anti-terrorism sentiment is thrown in Arabs and those from the Middle East are targeted and ultimately this is unfair for these wrongly labeled people and prejudice at its finest by Americans; strong feelings which need to be re-shaped to get rid of such profiling from taking place. Therefore I feel that racial profiling is bad, it is racist and needs to change. I feel that no one should be pulled over based on their race because it promotes that everyone is not equal under the law, which is not the case. Everyone, no matter their race, should be treated the same, and if this does not change soon it can lead to more devastating results. More people will be brutality attacked and killed by the police if this policy does not change. This is why racial profiling needs to be eliminated for good.
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