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Controversial Subjects in the Media: Racial Profiling in the United States

4 pages
880 words
Wesleyan University
Type of paper: 
Critical thinking
This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Racial profiling remains a controversial subject in the United States. It refers to the discrimination based on race, ethnicity, religion, and national origin. Despite being in the 21st century, racial issues are still experienced in various cities and towns across the nation. Unfortunately, racial profiling punishes innocent citizens for the past stereotypes of those who looked or sounded like them. For this reason, the racial stereotype is a deeply troubling national concern that not only violates the human rights of the affected but also affects their everyday activities. Lee (2015) asserts to this by stating, "When people focus on surface appearances and false racial prejudice rather than in-depth knowledge of individuals at the level of the heart mind and spirit, their ability to assess and understand people correctly is compromised." (p.25). Racial profiling is unacceptable, and the society should be enlightened on its adverse effects. To support this argument, there exist several concerns. First, it distracts law enforcement agencies from applying just approaches. Second, it prevents the police from offering their services to every member of the society. Third, racial profiling is a deliberate violation of the fourth amendment law, and, at the same time, it is morally wrong. Lastly, it can quickly escalate into racial-motivated violence.

Racial profiling distracts law enforcement agencies from enacting more effective approaches. According to Jacobsmeier (2014), laws only become relevant when suspects are detained on the basis of conduct rather than race. The 2005 report by Missouri attorney general indicated that despite being subjected to a brutal search, only 19% of African American drivers were found in possession of illegal materials compared to the 24% of white motorists. Searches based on race prejudice leave officers with many innocent citizens, while the criminals go free. Consequently, the officer's effectiveness in ensuring morality in the society decreases. In worst cases, it has resulted in the death of many innocent people including the shootings of African Americans and Latinos in the New York. Therefore, to achieve a just and fair society, every person should be judged by the credibility of their actions and not the color of their skin.

With racial and ethnical prejudice, the police department fails in offering their services to every citizen equally. A racially biased enforcement agency assumes that a particular group of people are more likely to commit crime than the other. Hence, they are perceived as an enemy of the entire community. This profiling creates mistrust between the community and the police. Consequently, despite having genuine cases, members of the affected population shy away from reporting their issues, coming out as witnesses, or cooperating in police investigations. The growing mistrust and fear need to be addressed by enacting policies against racial profiling at all administrative levels including the local and federal levels.

Notably, racial profiling violates the 4th amendment act which provides that no individual has the right to deny another the equal protection of laws. Therefore, racial profiling is an unequal protection. For instance, Latinos and blacks are more likely to be brutalized by the police than the whites. Similarly, the police perceive the whites as better law-abiding citizens. As a result, the unequal protection creates anger and hostility among citizens because some feel discriminated against (Jacobsmeier, 2014). To resolve this, law enforcement agencies should be educated on the impacts of sabotaging the law and, in-turn, violating human rights.

Racial profiling is morally wrong (Lee, 2015). It disproportionately targets African Americans for investigation and punishment. Perceiving a specific group of people as a source of threat places innocent citizens and immigrants under pervasive scrutiny. It creates a sense of alienation, fear, and exclusion among the affected members. Besides, it minimizes the level of trust towards law enforcement agencies. Ideally, it is unethical for police officers to violate the same laws they take an oath to protect.

Lastly, profiling can escalate into violence. Racial profiling sees that police officers use less evidence for Latinos, immigrants, and blacks than they would for whites. This unfair hearing stirs up anger and could create a situation where a group of police officers and armed citizens turn up against each other in an effort of safeguarding their rights (Lee, 2015). Overall, racial profiling creates disharmony and hostility among members of the society.

Nevertheless, eliminating racial profiling is a step in the wrong direction. Essentially, profiling is logical because it makes it easy for police officers to arrest criminals. For instance, if more blacks are involved in drug trafficking, law enforcers narrow down their focus to the suspects. Essentially, the innocent have nothing to worry about because they can easily prove their innocence. Hence, racial profiling ensures public safety.

In essence, nobody should be made to live in anxiety of being stopped by police officers whenever they leave their residences. Racial profiling is still a dominant form of modern discrimination. However, profiling is unnecessary and counter-productive. Every member of the society should be given an equal opportunity to present their case. Nevertheless, states have come up with laws to fight racial profiling. For example, the United States has launched the strategic litigation approach which involves court challenges to stop police discrimination.



Jacobsmeier, M. (2014). Racial Stereotypes and Perceptions of Representatives' Ideologies in U.S. House Elections. Legislative Studies Quarterly, 39(2), 261-291.

Lee, J. (2015). International Student Experiences: Neo-Racism and Discrimination. International Higher Education, (44), 3-8.


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