Throughout United States history, racial profiling is an often habit practiced by law officers in order to hypothetically enhance crime prevention by targeting minorities. Racial profiling can be defined as “any police-initiated action that relies on the race, ethnicity, or national origin, rather than the behavior of an individual or information that leads the police to a particular individual who has been identified as being, or having been, engaged in criminal activity” (Racial Profiling, Wiley Online Library). In other terms, racial profiling is judging the situation off its cover.
Marking someone as a suspect of a crime could be considered a heinous form of racism. For example, in the United States, if there is a terrorist attack, the first group to be suspected of committing the misconduct would be the Muslims. Considering our history filled with conflict with Middle Eastern nations, it is not surprising that the Muslims are initially profiled to be the vicious attackers. With the use of racial profiling, the FBI will be permitted to investigate specific and suspicious individuals and groups.
Although opposers could argue that it is politically incorrect and racist, racial profiling is beneficial for our nation because it can increase the security protections in our nation, it is reasonable and it is cost effective. Since the beginning of the year 2000, our nation has been struck by many terrorist attacks. With some of the most crucial being the World Trade Center attacks or the Boston Bombing, our nation has been placed into turmoil. The security of our citizens should be the most significant topic our nation’s government faces. If our domestic security is in jeopardy then our nation as a whole is in danger. Without racial profiling, terrorists would have the opportunity to become superior to our nation and would attack our security with every opportunity they get. Although the Obama administration seeked regulations on the policy of racial profiling, “federal agents will still be allowed to consider race and ethnicity when stopping people at airports, border crossings and immigration checkpoints” (Apuzzo, Schmidt, New York Times).
Imagine if police officials racially profiled the Muslims who flew into the Twin Towers in 2001, the September 11th attacks would not have happened. Suspension could happen at any point but with the use of racially judging another person, it could in fact help our nation’s security. In an interview with Michele Norris, University of Toledo law professor David Harris sided with the use of racial profiling. Harris mentioned that “What this is about is not political correctness. It is not about being kind to people. It isn’t even primarily about civil liberties. This is about safety” (Racial Profiling: A Cost-Benefit Analysis, WFUV).
In today’s current world, terrorist attacks happen often due to conflict. The United States has faced many acts of terrorism and can definitely say that it has hurt the nation as a whole. If police officials were allowed to use racial profiling whenever they would so choose to, then it would keep the nation safer. The United States’ police forces have faced different kinds of issues facing racial tensions. The black population have felt as if racial profiling has destroyed them and they fear that they are inferior towards the rest of our nation. Permitting racial profiling does not mean that a white police officer can hold a gun to a black man’s head because he thinks he might murder someone. That is the wrong way to enact this policy.
However, if a black man held suspicion that he would commit a crime within a reasonable amount of time, an officer should be allowed to predict that he is a danger to society and could arrest him. In order to keep our nation safe, “we rely on the police to protect us from harm and promote fairness and justice in our communities” (Racial Profiling, ACLU). If the police are not allowed to racially inspect a suspicious person, then there is no way of protecting us from danger. Racial profiling is essential for the security of our nation and it will help prevent future terrorist attacks. In the court of law, the term reasonable doubt is used to convict a suspect of crime.
A jury and a judge can not convict someone of a felony without evidence that they could have committed the crime. For example, a police officer cannot arrest someone on the streets because they do not like them. There must be a reason behind this to put someone into handcuffs.
In relation to racial profiling, it is the suspicion based off race or religion that allows a police officer to question someone. Opposers of profiling a suspect mention that the fourth amendment does not allow a police officer the right to check a person’s belongings without suspicion. In 1996, Whren was driving with a close friend, Brown, in a “high drug” area and stopped at a stop sign for unusually long. Officers noticed that when Whren turned, he did not use his turn signals. They pulled him over for a traffic violation but realized he was holding a plastic bag of cocaine in it.
They were both arrested on federal drug charges. Prior to the trial, Whren protested, mentioning that the evidence should not be taken into account because the officers purposely profiled the two after stopping at the stop sign for too long. The question over whether this was reasonable should be dismantled “since an actual traffic violation occurred, the ensuing search and seizure of the offending vehicle was reasonable, regardless of what other personal motivations the officers might have had for stopping the vehicle” (Whren v. United States, Oyez).
The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the authorities when they “unanimously sanctioned racial profiling by allowing police officers to make “pretext stops”” (Gunar, The Huffington Post). This set a precedent that officials are permitted to profile and should be allowed to judge a situation off its cover. It is for reasonable cause and if they feel as if a person is a threat to the safety to others, then an arrest should be able to be made. One of the most significant problems our nation faces each day is financials. The conflict over what the United States government should spend our nation’s capital on has always been a cause for concern. If racial profiling was legalized, money would not have to be spent on looking for suspects. Primarily, with the use of racial profiling, money and time is saved. Police do not have to take extra time looking at each suspect and each potential convict when they could specifically question those who fit the racial profile.
It is foolish to deploy police officers in each town rather than specifically placing them in cities with lower income and more minorities. If racial profiling was completely legalized, it would result in “spending less means more money can be put toward community initiatives, pension programs, officer salaries, and other needs that would normally not be addressed” (12 Racial Profiling Pros and Cons, Vittana). When a suspect fits a specific profile, it is easier to know where they are based on what group they are apart of. Racial profiling is a cheaper and quicker way to find criminals and to convict them of crimes.
Although racial profiling does bring many beneficial aspects to keeping our nation safe, it also raises questions over the topic of racism. Parents, teachers and other adults have always taught children not to judge someone based on their exterior characteristics but rather to get to know the person before making assumptions. This idea of “not judging a book off its cover” is the complete opposite of what racial profiling is. To give police officers the opportunity to arrest someone based off the suspicion of how they look is immoral and simply, wrong. It is not right to predict that a Muslim is a terrorist because they fit a terroristic profile.
Although racial profiling could narrow down groups of suspects, it is unethical to simply point out a group if none of them have done anything wrong. Being Muslim does not make someone a bomber, being black does not make someone a dangerous criminal, being Hispanic does not make someone sneaky or sly. These racial profiles are honestly racist.
It is an act of discrimination. Racial profiling is a direct violation of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States’ Constitution and in some cases, when racial profiling is used to search someone or their belongings, it violates their fourth amendment because of reasonable doubt. A police officer must have reasonable cause to act upon what is going on. To refute such statements that refer to racial profiling as discriminatory, it must be known that profiling helps our nation succeed and puts the criminals away in a quicker, cheaper fashion. Profiling happens each and every day, not just with people but with animals and other aspects that people deal with each day.
In reality, “if you cross the street to avoid a group of rough-hewn looking youths, decline to pet a strange dog, or refuse to hire as a babysitter a girl with purple hair, tattoos and body piercings, you’ve engaged in “profiling”” (Duke, The Hill). Police officials are not the only people to racially profile and those involved in the FBI know that profiling can speed up the process of finding a suspect. If profiling can help keep our nation safer and it can slow down the crime rate by implementing fear in foreigners, then why would racial profiling not be used? While a libertarian believes that profiling a person based off racial features is immoral, a utilitarian would take the approach that racial profiling “assumes certain crimes are committed disproportionately by certain racial groups” (Racial Profiling, Wiley Online Library). It is important to realize that the nation’s number one goal is to keep our people safe.
Keeping criminals off the streets will help the United States’ crime rate decrease. If racial profiling can achieve that goal along with it being cheaper and more efficient, than it should be legalized and utilized by authorities.