Racial profiling is an act where all people of a certain race are treated as criminal suspects by those of law enforcement. This occurs when police investigate, stop, frisk search or use force against a person based on race instead of a person’s criminal behavior. It often involves the stopping and searching of people of color for traffic violations. One controversial issue in the discussion of racial profiling has been how to prove if it is legitimate. On the one hand, some argue it is correct policy to search or investigate those of a particular race in order to control crime. On the other hand, some contend it is an unconstitutional stereotype that causes unfair treatment and harm to people of that race. Racial profiling occurs more than it should and there needs to be a legitimate law enforcement policy created to resolve the issue.
Racial profiling has been occurring throughout our nation, for as far back as many of us can remember. Racial profiling stems from racism and fear of people who are different, ethnically and culturally, than the person making the judgments. During the Civil Rights Era, racial profiling was a major issue, thousands of black Americans were unnecessarily stopped and arrested on their skin color alone. According to Ben Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP, “…racial profiling contributed to the assassination of our 25th president” (para1). Leon Czolgosz, a light skinned man who stood in line holding a revolver covered by a handkerchief was overlooked by security. They were too busy focusing on the big African American man, James Parker who actually was the one to seize Czolgosz after the shooting (para2). This reflects how racial profiling causes innocent people to be stereotyped and criminals to continue with their crimes. Sadly, it spreads even further than that, and continues to cloud the judgment of people who are in positions of authority.
Racial profiling was something that you didn’t hear much about until the early 90’s. Some who believe they had fell victim to it started speaking out and making it known to the public. In 1996 the television network ABC aired a report entitled “Driving While Black,” in which it paid three younger black men to drive around the city of New Brunswick, New Jersey, in a Mercedes-Benz. Three officers in the city pulled over the car for a minor traffic infraction and then proceeded to search the car and the young men. The show demonstrated with little doubt that the only reason the three men were pulled over was their race. (Donna Batten para 3) This report caught a lot of people’s attention and shed more light on racial profiling. Driving While Black is a prime example of racial profiling. Several minorities fall victim to racial profiling due to a law enforcement strategy of stopping people based on color and justifying it with a small traffic violation. Officers continue to deny this accusation but their actions during these stops reveal their stereotypes of minorities.
There are some people who believe racial profiling does not exist at all and it is a mere excuse of criminals trying to avoid prosecution for their crimes. Although some criminals might try to use this as a defense, we can’t deny the fact that there are innocent people who fall victim to this offense. Tyquan, minority teen of Bushwick, Brooklyn says between the age of 15-18 he was stopped & frisked at least sixty times when walking down the block. He has been taking in custody several times because he inquired why he was being stopped. Often they held him for 8-9 hours and then release him out the back door with no charges (The Scars of Stop and Frisk). What do you say to a child or parent of a child who sustains this type of treatment on a regular basis for no other reason than the color of their skin? How would those who claim it does not exist justify these types of situations? There is...