Racial Profiling: Is It Right?

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Racial profiling is very common in society today. Authorities and even individuals tend to presume that because someone is of a certain race, they are most likely to commit a crime. However, is it fair to racially profile an individual? Why can’t criminal cases be assessed without involving race, religion, or ethnicity? Racial profiling refers to the discriminatory practice by law enforcement officials of targeting individuals for suspicion of a crime based on the individual’s race, ethnicity, religion or national origin. An example would be, the use of race to determine which drivers to stop for traffic violations or the use of race to determine who to search for illegal contraband. Racial profiling is wrong because it sabotages trust between law enforcement agencies and the communities that they serve, it wastes law enforcement’s time and resources, and it is illegal.

The first reason why racial profiling is wrong is because it sabotages the trust between enforcement agencies and the communities that they serve. Law enforcement agencies are any government agencies responsible for the enforcement of laws. They include both state and federal agencies such as the police or the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). These agencies are tasked with the responsibility of maintaining the law and order in society. However, taking the wrong approach might be detrimental to society. For example, a community or a race within the community is targeted because a crime was committed in the area will make them unwilling to report crimes or cooperate with the law enforcement agencies because of fear of being racially profiled. In short, law enforcement agencies should conduct investigations and searches fairly and without bias.

Another reason why racial profiling is wrong is because it wastes law enforcement’s time and resources. It is difficult for law enforcement agencies to catch perpetrators if they engage in racial profiling. The reason being that they investigate people based on the belief that they are most likely to commit a crime based on their race or ethnicity. Furthermore, it will cause them to lose track of the actual law breakers. A lot of time and resources are put into searching innocent people because of their race. All things considered, people should be treated equally in any situation.

Lastly, racial profiling is illegal. Many states in the United States of America have laws that denounce racial profiling. The Fourth Amendment states that “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated.” In addition, it is not right for a law enforcement agent to stop and question a citizen based on suspicion but with specific and reasonable inferences. In the long run, race, nationality, or ethnicity is not a reasonable ground to suspect someone of committing a crime because the United States’ Constitution doesn’t condone racial profiling by law enforcement agencies.

Altogether, law enforcement agencies are not the only ones guilty of racial profiling, we as individuals, are weary of another race and are quick to point fingers at other people. An example is Darren Martin, a former Obama White House Staffer, who was accused of burglarizing his own apartment after his neighbor called the police saying he was an armed burglar in 2018. People need to understand racial profiling is dangerous because it can cause innocent people to lose their lives. Hence, racial profiling is dehumanizing and it needs to stop.

 

 

Nicee Olayinkascott is a Sophomore Broadcast/Mass Communications major from Lagos, Nigeria. She will be a contributor to The Campus Chronicle for the 2019-2020 school year.

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