Racial Profiling of Minorities in America

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The Racial Profiling of Minorities in America

Ethnic Studies 123
Professor Hebert Johnson
John Jay College of Crimnal Justice
By: Andy Victor
Our country was founded on this idea of freedom and how America was this land of opportunity. Time and history tells us it was easier said than done because racism restricted certain groups from achieving that “opportunity”. This social issue still haunts today but manifest not whips and chains but through racial profiling. Racial profiling is unjust, and a poison to the ideas of Democracy because it generalizes a specific group as being criminal and therefore makes the rest society inherit the same perception. In our society today, we have both Blacks and Latinos victimized depending on what neighborhood they are from and economical status. There are laws in place for the purpose of discouraging minorities to feel comfortable within their own skin. Two examples that will be further discussed are the SB 1070 and Stop and Frisk. Racial profiling can have a psychological effect to the targeted ethnicity. If the federal government does not intervene and seek to put an end to these unconstitutional laws, which discriminate against minorities, than we would be abolishing ones civil rights.

An established government with an interracial society has always been accompanied by racism. Racism, stereotyping, and racial profiling have existed in almost every society since the beginning of time. Each person has his or her own perception of how others behave based on experience and or teachings-a direct correlation to racial profiling. Racial profiling is simply, according to Dictionary.com, “government activity directed at a suspect or group of suspects based solely on race”. This social issue traces back to the slavery era in United States. A. Willis, author of The Roots of Racial Profiling, writes, “The Free Negro Registry was a means of identifying and tracking so-called Free Persons of Color. In colonial Virginia, all Free Persons of Color were required to show identification to any white person on demand”. We cannot accurately pinpoint the origin of racial profiling, however there are certain events in our history that reveal the constant targeting of minorities by authority figures. Racialprofilinganalysis.neu.edu points out “The term "profiling" first became associated with a method of interdicting drug traffickers during the late 1970s. In 1985, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), under Operation Pipeline, police were trained to apply a profile that included evidence of concealment in the vehicle, indications of fast, point-to-point driving, as well as the age- and race characteristics of the probable drivers. In some cases, the profiling technique was distorted, so that officers began targeting black and Hispanic male drivers by stopping them for technical traffic violations as a pretext for ascertaining whether the drivers were carrying drugs.” Behaviors like the one described above were and are common in urban communities due to the population being made up of mostly Blacks and Hispanics.

A map indicating where stop and frisk occurs in the borough of Brooklyn. The darker shades of blue get the more stop and frisks are in that location

There are many cases in which minorities are victimized by police or authority simply because they were born into that certain ethnicity. American Civil Liberties Union found that “blacks and Hispanics were roughly three times as likely to be searched during a traffic stop, blacks were twice as likely to be arrested and blacks were nearly four times as likely to experience the threat or use of force during interactions with the police.” Similar traffic stops are common and tolerated in a lot of law enforcement agencies around the country. In many cases the statistics of traffic stops on minorities do not correlate with the generalization. Traffic stop statistics reviewed in the...
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