Racial profiling is an act of targeting a particular community or individuals for surveillance because they are deemed susceptible to crimes or other activities that are considered illegal. Racial profiling is based on the aspects of religion, race, ethnicity, and origin (Natarajan, 2014). For instance, security officers target a group of people that have been profiled as a security threat when doing checkups. This paper addresses the effectiveness and drawbacks of racial profiling both in deterrence and in criminal incapacitation and its effects on the increasing stereotyping of certain groups of people in the society.
Arguing for Racial Profiling
Racial profiling is an effective measure of preventing terror attacks. Law enforcement officers have realized success in stopping people of a particular race who are suspected to be perpetrators of crime. Though most of the people stopped by the security officers are innocent, this measure has proved successful in uncovering individuals whose plan is to execute a crime; for instance, a UK study shows that high rates of stop and search are associated with lower rates of crime. Indeed, the logic of utilitarian affirms that crimes in the society are committed by people of a particular race and this confirms that victimization and disproportion targeting certain ethnic group is appropriate (Campbell, Denov & Lenet, 2017). Therefore, to avoid the reoccurrence of some tragic events experience in the past such as the 9/11 attack, racial profiling based on ethnicity and race is taken into consideration provided it is not carried out in a way that violates the constitution.
Racial profiling is an important tool that enhances people to uphold the rule of law and decrease the crime rate. According to Wragg (2018), racial profiling is a critical approach used to easily identify potential criminal gangs provided it is carried out using the right procedure; to disqualify Wragg argument, I will limit my agreement with her by supporting that racial profiling helps to identify potential terror or criminal activities but limit my disagreement by arguing that it can exploited as an avenue for discrimination, exploitation and gives rise to other forms of profiling. Though security officers who are on the limelight may have divergent opinions in the course of racial profiling, to effectively carry out their duties of uncovering criminal activities, they all agree that the importance of ethnicity and race cannot be overlooked (Glaser, 2014). In support of this, Hosein (2018), argues that security officers are not literally using racial profiling rather they use actionable intelligence and data which includes people’s ethnic background, religion, and origin among others (Hosein, 2018).
Racial profiling helps in saving time and financial resources when deterring crimes or terror attacks. When a given suspected person fits a particular profile, the security agencies can easily identify where they can trace him or her (Glaser, 2014). Most importantly, racial profiling also fits into the demographics of crime. For instance, in the United States, people from racial minorities have a high prevalence of committing crimes compared to the racial majority (Hosein, 2018). Thus, racial profiling fit the specific location within which criminal activities take place. As such, the law enforcement agents use less time and fewer resources in tracking down the suspects. Less spending in criminal detecting and securing measures implies that the remaining resources are channeled towards other community programs in order to improve their general welfare (Glaser, 2014).
Arguing Against Racial Profiling
Racial profiling is evidently an act of discrimination. Racial profiling targets people of a certain race, origin or religion which confirm that indeed it is a discriminatory measure (Campbell et al., 2017). This is affirmed by Hosein (2018), articulating that stopping people of a targeted race in the streets based on race rather than violation of law or behavior is one of the highest levels of discrimination (Hosein, 2018). For instance, the Leadership Conference and Civil Rights refute the need for racial profiling by articulating that Hispanic and African Americans in the country have a high probability of being stopped and searched by the security officers (Natarajan, 2014). However, these people are less likely to be convicted of crime or in possession of contrabands which shows that racial profiling is discriminative in nature (Natarajan, 2014). This type of acts deteriorates trust between the racially minority and security forces.
Racial profiling also makes members of certain communities feel unsafe. Continuous practice of racial profiling by government agencies and law enforcement targeting people based on ethnicity, nationality, and religion makes them feel unappreciated, suspects, and also undermines human safety (Glaser, 2014). This creates fear among the people in the targeted community as some prefer to stay at home rather than working further subjecting them to economic hardships. It also creates division between the profiled and the un-profiled communities because the former may be subjected to mishandling by the security officers. The racial majority can also take laws into their hands causing physical harm to the profiled group (Wragg, 2018).
Profiling violates people’s rights since it is abused as an avenue of exploitation. Law enforcement officers are inclined to a certain race and results to mishandling the minority race regardless of the constitutional rights (Hosein, 2018). Contrary to the constitution guidelines that a person should be held innocent until proved guilty, the racially profile people are treated as guilty until they are proven innocent (Glaser, 2014).
Racial profiling has not proved its effectiveness in stopping crime. In fact, it is termed as guesswork because people who commit crimes are not necessarily inclined to the profiled race. Terrorist from Muslim religion knows that they are among the racially profiled and thus they have designed a new approach to executing crimes. Consequently, Muslim terror groups are recruiting people who are not part of the profiled group to execute their crimes (Campbell et al., 2017). London Vehicular attack in England which injured nine people and led to the death of one was carried out by Doren Osborne who was a White. As a law enforcement strategy, racial profiling is termed an effective measure since it lacks a sensible and effective strategy for prevention and investigation (Campbell et al., 2017).
Though accurate profile saves resources, inaccurate profiling on the other can be costly (Wragg, 2018). Inaccurate profiling can misguide the security officers, for instance, searching for a Latino man when the responsible person is an African American. This presents two probabilities of identifying the target community and pulls it for questioning to deter crime or identifying the wrong community and missing the target.
Racial profiling also leads to other types of profiling. This is because when a certain type of profiling is accepted in the community it opens windows for other forms of profiling based on the justification that it is crime deterring strategy (Wragg, 2018). The most common types of profiling that take place separate from racial profiling include; gender identify, sexual preference, and religion (Glaser, 2014).
In conclusion, from the argumentative discussion above, it can be established that the cons of racial profiling outdo the pros. This implies that racial profiling in an evil vice that is meant to create fear, discriminate people, and subject them to inhuman treatment to maintain the status quo of majority racial superiority. As a counter-terrorism measure, racial profiling has been rendered ineffective since terrorists are able to study and understand the administrative and legal regimes to facilitate their plan and crime executions (Campbell et al., 2017). Terrorist of suspected groups are able to fake or change behavior to avoid being alleged or scrutinized. Profile race also recruits people from other non-profile groups to execute crimes making them untraceable. The ineffectiveness of racial profiling is also seen in the fact that it dictates the action to be taken by the security officer before the criminal activity occurs. Thus, ethnic and race appearance are poor predictors of behavior and this type of profiling makes the security officer to enforce their activities indiscriminately and too widely.
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