Racial Profiling: Useful or Harmful?
When enforcers of the law go about their jobs they use many techniques to decrease their suspect pools, one of the most controversial techniques officers use is racial profiling. People believe racial profiling causes police distrust and at the same time encourages “fishing expeditions”. When should officers be allowed to use racial profiling, and when shouldn’t they? The most common use of racial profiling is in traffic stops, but this is one area racial profiling should not be practices by enforcers of the law. Most of the data collected for purposes of racial profiling reporting is based on traffic stops (Del Carmen 41). A downside to racial profiling is that it discourages African Americans from traveling and working in white neighborhoods, especially at night (Lever 9). The states effort to address racial profiling by police (stopping someone solely because of race/ethnicity) is a textbook example of why people become cynical about the government (Courant 1). Lobe says “Prior to 9/11 racial profiling was referred to as ‘driving while black’ now the practice can be more accurately described as driving, flying, walking, shopping, worshipping, or staying at home while black, brown, red, yellow, Muslim, or of middle eastern appearance (2). Therefore, police officers using racial profiling as a factor in traffic stops should not be allowed.
When officers investigate crimes being committed, they try to lessen their suspect pool by using racial profiling. The controversy over whether if that should be allowed is based on the more broad or narrow definitions, the narrow definition of racial profiling is any police action such as an arrest, search, contact, or detention which was solely based on the person’s ethnicity/ race rather than on the individual’s behavior. But the broader definition of racial profiling states that race/ ethnicity are just two of many elements used when determining who to detain, question, arrest or...
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