A Closer Look at Racial Profiling

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A Closer Look at Racial Profiling essay

Growing up in a predominantly black neighborhood in California, I had never experienced or witnessed racial profiling. Others around me would discuss this issue, but to my knowledge it was rare, and at the time I was not aware about lives being taken due to this issue. It was not until I moved to a more suburban area that consisted of a multitude of different races, that I experienced racial profiling for myself. I remember vividly what happened that day and exactly how I felt, a feeling I never wish to experience again. I decided to walk to a local CVS with my friend to get snacks. There was a security guard standing at the door, due to the amounts of fights that had been taking place. While walking down the aisles, I remember the security leaving where he stood to follow my friend and me. It gave me a very uneasy feeling, so I decided to quickly grab something so I did not have to endure this type of humiliation any longer. Standing in line to pay for my snacks, I faced another occurrence when a Caucasian woman decides to shout at me for being too close behind her. At that point I had had enough, and decided to leave CVS with my friend. I was embarrassed, along with, feeling ashamed of my skin color. That type of treatment is unacceptable and is what I call “racial profiling.” A Definition given by Steve Cooper (2001) is, “racial profiling occurs when a police officer selectively focuses on a person’s race, and subsequently harasses, detains, or arrests the individual” (p. 1). With so many incidences occurring that have been portrayed on the news, as innocent people’s lives being taken away for mistaken identity. This is something that can be avoided by just treating all individuals the same; we are all capable of committing crimes, and there is not one specific race that should always be held accountable. What happened to innocent until proven guilty?

With recent studies being conducted on racial profiling in addition to why it happens, the results are proving that African Americans and Hispanics are constantly looked at due to stigmas. Can you imagine being arrested because of how people conceive you, based on no amount of valid evidence whatsoever? Not only is the use of racial profiling used to put innocent people in jail; it is also used to kill innocent people. Cooper (2001) reports that “15 black men were killed by Cincinnati police officers in recent years, but no whites were killed during that period” (p. 2). During Coopers (2001) field research of racial profiling; he would drive with officers from different agencies while they performed their duties, and discovered specific factors officers looked for when pulling an individual over. One distinct factor used according to Cooper (2001) is called, “thug profile,” consists of …. type of vehicle, location, clothing, time of day, demeanor, and race” (p. 2). For the simple fact that a minority may be in a predominantly white “rich” neighborhood, driving an expensive car, wearing expensive or excessive amount of jewelry is reason enough for an officer to pull that person over. (Cooper, 2001, p. 2). That is the most unfair reason to pull anyone over regardless of their race. Unless police have substantial evidence that the person is committing a crime they have no right, in my opinion, to stop that person. If it were a Caucasian person wearing expensive jewelry and driving a nice car, would they receive that same kind of treatment? The answer is sadly no, which goes to prove my point that racial profiling is unjust.

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Many may argue that police officers are just doing their jobs and are trying to provide a safe environment for everyone. Which then leads me to an article written by Andrew C. McCarthy, called Unreasonable Searches. In McCarthy’s (2005) article he speaks on the use of racial profiling to stop terrorism. He believes it is absolutely necessary for a police officer to form a specific profile to efficiently do their jobs. McCarthy (2005) believes, “A profile is not a judgement. It is not an accusation of guilt. It is an investigation tool” (p. 17). I can admit that creating a profile helps officers to narrow down the kind of individual they should be looking at for a specific case. McCarthy (2005) point out, that it is not illegal to create a racial profile. He then states, “… so absurd as that government must in all circumstances regard everyone as the same” (McCarthy, 2005, p. 17). This is where I would have to disagree, due to numerous amounts of shootings taking place that have nothing to do with terrorism. It is simply an excuse, to say the least, to say that only Muslims or foreigners have some kind of agenda to take the lives of Americans. When we Americans are capable of doing the exact same thing. Race cannot always be a factor in issues like this, there are other factors that need to be taken into consideration.

To my understanding, there have been several police officers that have been exposed of racial profiling, in addition to, taking the lives of innocent people and are able to get away with it. There should be punishment for lack of judgement leading to someone’s freedom being taken away. There should be no excuse, with surveillance and videos showing the crimes being done against innocent people of color. An instance of this type of crime being done is an article by Christine Byers (2015) of an appeal hearing. A former police officer of St. Louis County was fired, according to Byers (2015) for allegedly ordering officers to racially profile and making racist comments such as, “let’s have a black day, and let’s make the jail cells more colorful” (pp. 1-2). Although, the police officer was fired for racial profiling, who knows the amount of innocent people he has put away just to make the jails “more colorful.” Byers (2015) reveals the officer is trying to refute these claims, and wants an appeal to prove his innocence. His attorney believes that the investigation will show up flawed, states Byers (2015), and he “was the target of a retaliation conspiracy by disgruntled officers…” (p. 2). The fact that our system is so flawed to the point where officers can make such statements and blame it on others is appalling. We absolutely need to do better, and I believe with severe punishment for this kind of behavior, justice will be served.

I do not believe all officers are racist, but if I were to make that kind of judgement based on some of them, is that fair? If not, then why is it fair that we minorities be held to stigmas of us when we are all different people of different backgrounds? I want to believe in our justice system just as much as everyone else, and more than anything I want to feel safe. Unfortunately, that is not the case, and something needs to be done about that. I can list several people that have been shot and killed because they fit a specific stereotype, but we are all already aware of it. We cannot turn a blind eye to this issue any longer; there needs to be something done so people of all colors and race can live their lives in peace. We need to know that we matter as well, and we do not have to fear for our lives or of being mistreated because of our skin color.

References

  1. Cooper, S. (2001). A closer look at racial profiling. Society of Professional Journalists 89(6). 1-4. Retrieved from http://web.b.ebscohost.com/
  2. McCarthy C., A. (2005). Unreasonable searches. National Review 57(15). 17-18. Retrieved from http://web.b.ebscohost.com/

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A Closer Look at Racial Profiling. (2021, May 10). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/a-closer-look-at-racial-profiling/