Does Racial Profiling Exist

Topics: Racism, Race and Ethnicity, White people Pages: 9 (3571 words) Published: October 26, 2011
A young black male is on his way home from work, and gets suspiciously pulled over by highway patrol. The officer claims the man is being pulled over for his speed, but the driver has a different opinion. He has heard on the radio that there has been a bank robbery nearby, and the wanted criminal is supposedly a young male, with no mention of skin color. Does this kind of behavior from officers exist? Is it logical to believe that this man was pulled over because of his dark skin? Do officers prejudice against races? There is a large debate on the subject of racial profiling, and whether or not it still exists within the government. Some say that there is no such thing, and that officers do not see race as a variable for whether or not they pull someone over or search them. They claim that through the development of the United States, all racial inequalities have subsided. Others believe that racial profiling is a large reason for why officers pull certain people over on the road. They claim that certain races are subject to harsher treatment than others. Some observers might want to get rid of all racial profiling. The truth is this: racial profiling exists and is being abused. The side effect to this is that it cannot be completely eliminated but only heavily controlled. The only way to keep racial profiling to a minimum is to be well informed as a community, and to know one’s rights as an individual. Racial profiling will always exist and in some circumstances is necessary in order to protect the community. It can be harmful, but under the advancing laws and regulations of the government and the close watch of US citizens, it can be controlled and maintained. In a case by case basis, it can be determined whether or not it is necessary in order to stop criminal activity and avoid violating civil liberties. Racial profiling cannot be denied, but only monitored. This is a fact that individuals need to be aware of, so every person can be treated with respect and understood. According to the Discovery Company website “How Stuff Works,” “racial profiling is a form of predictive profiling in which one of the factors (or the only factor) officers consider is the skin color or race of the suspect… racism exists in law enforcement” (Grabianowski). Clashing with popular belief, this quote proves that racial profiling does exist in some forms of the government. Police officers use many factors when deciding whether or not to pull someone over, including skin color, clothing, age of the individual, and gender. No matter how hard any society tries, racial discrimination cannot be avoided in all aspects. Studies and research by Pickerill, Mosher, and Pratt in a book on law and policy show the complexity of racial profiling and state that “race may certainly be correlated with police officer decision making… yet it is important to recognize how race is intertwined with a host of other contextual factors that also influence officers’ decisions” (7). One cannot eliminate race from the equation, because there are many other variables tied to race in a criminal case. Eliminating race in a police investigation would be similar to saying that there is no difference between and man and a woman. Society cannot ignore that there are many differences between a man and woman. The only way to control the outlook on race is to recognize that it is there, and work to step away from it. Officers should be taught to look at other variables more heavily than race while still recognizing that it is there, and still an important variable. In every country, group, and person there is a level of discrimination whether one claims it is there or not. Every person is responsible for some stereotyping and discrimination, and this cannot be denied. In countries like France, racial profiling is ignored, as shown by Chaires, Barthe, and Lentz in a study looking at the country’s police structure where “France has no racial categories… the idea of racial...
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