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Racial Profiling Essay

607 words - 3 pages

Racial profiling is a practice used by law enforcement personnel that discriminates and targets individuals for suspision of criminal activity based on the indiviuals race, ethnicity, or religion. Racial profiling is illegal as one would assume from its definition yet occurs all the time and ironically, it is practiced by the men and women who are meant to uphold the law. Race differecnes and the roles they play in police procedures such as traffic stops are an important topic in American society. Sometimes racial profiling is useful only in the sense that stereo-types and certain social stigmas attached to those who look, dress, and act a particular way don't mysteriously come from no where. There's a certain level of truth to some of them. As such, police officers often tie in race or ethnicity into their procedures. An officers likliness to racially profile an ...view middle of the document...

For many citizens, their only first-hand source of contact with the police occurs during a traffic stop (Article 1 page 2). This indicates that when racial profiling occurs, traffic stops are the most likely avenue. This is very important for two reasons. The first is that first impressions usually last and another is that for many who only encounter officers as part of a traffic stop, that is thier first offence. With race influence stops, this could be considered the gateway crime for those targeted by racial profiling. Studies found that traffic stops exhibit the potential for race-based bias, resulting in moderate disparities in the rate of stops, searches, and arrest. Even with moderate race effect, this is important because traffic stops can represent a first entry into the criminal justice system; if disparities are present here, they set the stage for compounding effects as the individual continues through the system.

It is said that justice is blind. Unfortunately, that is not true. In fact, she can see and apparently in full color. Race continues to be an important factor in the execution of traffic stops and police procedures. The trust felt between races simply deteriorates when one is given athorative power. That distrust breeds certain behavioral patterns in a racial community and in turn leads an officer to behave a particular way in the face of certain individuals. Be it a white/black officer/citizen or even a black/black officer/citizen pair racial profiling is likely to occur. For it to be erradicated first it must be recognized. Law makers and officials need to focus more on this issue in order to resolve it because with the very sensitive nature of the issue, it's easy to let it slip through the cracks. The outcome of a traffic stop shouldn't be predetermined by ones race or ethnicity. It shouldn't be the reason an African-American gets pulled over multiple times. It shouldn't be the reason a Latino is forced to pay an extra fine. Despite that racial profiling is alive and well and being practiced in our society.

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