Racial Profiling Essay

Better Essays
Mainghor Tang
Mrs. Daniels
ERCW. 5
7 Oct. 2016
Who We Truly Are Is Not Skin Deep
With the recent shootings of African Americans by white police officers, the topic of racial profiling is once again reignited. The issue is especially prevalent and controversial in the United States, chiefly due to the fact that America is a diverse country with many ethnic groups. Such profiling is a form of discrimination by which law enforcement uses a person’s race or cultural background as the primary reason to suspect that the individual has broken the law. The topic of racial profiling has caused a rift between the American people. Some people claim that racial profiling is a logical way to use statistics in order to preempt dangerous activities by a particular
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Using probabilities to justify the action of targeting a particular group of people is bound to harm innocent people within that group. As Bob Herbert, writer the of the New York Times, writes in his article “Jim Crow Policing,” that “these encounters with the police are degrading and often frightening” (¶ 8). Racial profiling produces inconvenience for the recipients, and as Herbert emphasizes, it is humiliating and scary. In general, it does considerable harm to the target group in the interests of expediency for law enforcement. According to Brent Staples, an African American author of the narrative “Black men and Public Spaces: Just Walk By,” understands what it means to be erroneously profiled when he describes his experience, “women are particularly vulnerable to street violence, and young black males are drastically overrepresented among the perpetrators of that violence. Yet these truths are no solace against the kind of alienation that comes of being ever the suspect, against being set apart, a fearsome entity with whom pedestrians avoid making eye contact” (¶ 6). It saddens me to know that people such as Staples must cope with discrimination and be victims of racial profiling when they have not carried out any nefarious act. Racial profiling overtly defies the frequently used phrase “Don’t judge a book by its …show more content…
As Anna Amberg, writer of “Racial Profiling - It Works,” claims, “If we look at the number of homicides committed in the United States between 1974 and 2004, 52% of offenders were black and 46% were white… The kicker is that blacks made up only 12% of the total population during this time period, while whites made up 80%. This shows that your average black person was much more likely to commit a homicide than your average white person” (¶ 3). While the statistics that Amberg uses are incontrovertibly true, she fails to consider a crucial aspect which is the social cost. It is not as easy as using a policy that is convenient and most likely to produce correct answers because falsely identifying someone based on his or her racial profile has a high cost. In the article “Jim Crow Policing,” Bob Herbert writes, “Several plaintiffs detailed how their ordinary daily lives were interrupted by cops bent on harassment for no good reason” (¶ 11). When a person is targeted because of his or her ethnicity and he or she happens to be innocent. This person will most often feel very strongly about it. Policy that results in a great number of false positives is likely to face conflicts and social upheaval from the group being profiled. That does not mean that a person’s complexion should be ignored entirely. It would be foolish for police officers who are

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