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Racial Profiling by the Police

Latinos say they also face racial profiling by police- Adriana Hauser, CNN, 2009.

The article begins by giving reference to Professor Henry Louis Gates’ arrest earlier in the year, an action that was linked to racial profiling since Gates was an African American. The article reports that the Latino community in the US also undergoes a similar treatment by the police. A 2004 Gallup Poll found out that two-thirds of all African Americans and an almost similar proportion of Latinos considered themselves as victims of police discrimination while for whites, the figure fell to half. Even though the police make quick decisions based on their safety and that of the public, the Latino community says that such decisions normally amount to an abuse of authority. The police respond by indicating that they normally act quickly while staying safe (Hauser, 2009).

While I agree with the police that they are normally faced with situations that require quick judgment and they have to be on the safe side, I object to them using such an opportunity to discriminate against suspects based on their race. Police are trained professionally and they should use their expertise and experience to make split-second decisions that do not necessarily amount to racial profiling.

Racial Profiling in Police Searches? -By Will Sullivan, U.S. News Staff, 2007.

The paper reports on a study whose findings showed that while African American and Latino drivers are almost equally likely to be stopped by the police as the whites, they are considerably more likely to be searched during such a stop. Other racial discrepancies were noted during the survey. For example, African American drivers were twice as likely to be arrested as whites, and both minority communities experienced police brutality more than whites. This report, similar to previous ones on racial profiling by the police, is bound to worsen the current debate on the frequency and extent of racial profiling. BJS statistician Matthew Durose, who came up with the report, warns that the findings do not verify or reject allegations of racial profiling. In addition, David Harris, a law professor at the University of Toledo asserts that even though the reports are arguable, the number of African Americans who were discriminated against by the police is still considerable (Sullivan, 2007).

The report on racial profiling of African American and Latino drivers is not conclusive, perhaps the research should have been done to ascertain whether these two groups are more likely to commit traffic offenses than whites. Such a study could validate or reject the notion of racial profiling by the police. However, this report is in line with several other studies and appropriate actions should be taken to curb the vice.

Farrah Franklin Accuses Police Of Racial Profiling – By Reggie Ugwu, BET, 2011.

This paper reports on a former Destiny’s Child member, Farrah Franklin, who alleges that she was a victim of racial profiling by California’s Culver City Police after being arrested for disorderly conduct. Franklin says that the police officers manhandled her during the arrest. She was made to remove her top in front of male officers, an incident she says was very unjust (Ugwu, 2011).

While this report illustrates how even celebrities can experience racial profiling by the police, it also shows how easy it is to accuse the police of the same. Farrah Franklin is likely to have been drunk and this might have influenced her experience with the police.

Galloway Township police officer’s tort claim alleges racial discrimination- By Jennifer Bogdan, Press of Atlantic City, 2011.

The article details a Galloway township police officer’s allegations of harassment and discrimination within the local police unit. Officer Brian Tennant, an African American, says that discriminatory actions have caused him stress. The allegations stem from a senior officer’s use or racially charged language as the latest in a series of several occurrences of harassment, prejudice, racial profiling and discrepancy in treatment. These actions create a hostile work environment, adds officer Tennant. If the allegations are proven, remedial actions will be taken against the offender, including disciplinary action (Bogdan, 2011).

This paper shows just how deeply rooted racial profiling is. The law enforcement officers are supposed to ensure that everybody follows the laws and orders of the land but are the same ones who break them. If police cannot take an active role in combating racial profiling, then the prevalence rates and scope are likely to rise in the future.

Racial Profiling: Frequently asked questions- By CBC News Online, 2005.

The paper reports that even though routine police stops or custom checks are a common occurrence, such checks become subjects of racial profiling when a person belonging to a minority ethnic community is involved. News media have kept the issue alive in the public domain. However, scientific studies have also revealed that members of certain racial groups are normally selected for special attention from law enforcers. While police deny such a practice exists, proponents also have their own critics, who assert that studies are inconclusive. The notion that racial profiling is alive in the police receives much opposition because police expect cooperation from every member of the society. Police also assert that racism is normally dealt with severely and can lead to dismissal from duty. Statistics to back up claims of racial profiling are hard to come by since most police forces in North America do not have statistics based on race. However, studies in the US and UK confirm the presence of racial profiling by police officers (CBC News Online, 2005).

For a country that prides itself of being a home for the immigrants, it is a shame racial profiling exists in Canada. Even though such an allegation is hard to prove, anecdotal evidence plus other studies indicate that the vice is actually alive in the country. However, the fact that racial profiling goes on among law enforcement agencies does not necessarily mean that any vehicle stopped for police check, custom check, or subjected to further checks is due to the nature of one’s race.

Questions

  • What is racial profiling?
  • Why do the police or other law enforcement agencies strongly deny the presence of racial profiling?
  • Why is statistical evidence to prove racial profiling hard to come by?
  • Why are most studies into racial profiling considered inconclusive by critics on both sides?
  • Should the public be concerned about racial profiling?
  • Does it make sense to use racial profiling to make our neighborhoods safer?
  • What steps has the government taken to combat this vice?
  • What steps have the police taken to combat this vice?
  • Do post 9/11 policies endorse racial profiling?
  • What is the effect of racial profiling on integration in our communities?
  • Give examples of racial profiling.

References

Bogdan, J. (2011). Galloway Township police officer’s tort claim alleges racial discrimination. Press of Atlantic City.

CBC News Online. (2005). Racial Profiling: Frequently asked questions. CBC News. Web.

Hauser, A. (2009). Latinos say they also face racial profiling by police. CNN U.S. Web.

Sullivan, W. (2007). Racial Profiling in Police Searches? U.S. News.

Ugwu, R. (2011). Farrah Franklin Accuses Police Of Racial Profiling. BET.

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StudyKraken. 2022. "Racial Profiling by the Police." May 4, 2022. https://studykraken.com/racial-profiling-by-the-police/.

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