8 Apr 2022


Racial Profiling

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Academic level: College

Paper type: Research Paper

Words: 1315

Pages: 5

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Back Ground of Racial Profiling

Racial profiling refers to the use of ethnicity, race, religion, national or gender origin by the law agent as the basis for deciding to choose on whom to arrest, put under investigation, or detain without gathering enough evidence of a given criminal behavior or crime. Racial profiling can be traced back in the History of the United States and has been an issue of an increasing debate across the nation in the recent past on what is exactly wrong with racial profiling ( Glaser, 2014).  

Most people have the notion that racial profiling is a relatively current issue that came up in the 1980s when the cases of African Americans were pulled over driving yet they were black, and this incident made headlines across the nation( Glaser, 2014) . However, the issue can be traced back many years and is a fairly current discriminatory conduct manifestation by the criminal justice system and law enforcement that goes back to the 1700s for the African descent people in the United States. 

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Racial profiling in the United States at its core is about stereotypes and racism as well as the worse assumption on a particular group of people on the basis of reality perception that is afterward multiplied and projected, consequently endangering and impacting every citizen of that particular nationality, ethnicity, race, or religion. 

In 1704, South Carolina come up with the first slave patrol; where the white American citizens policed slaves from the black community on their plantations and hunted for the slaves who made their way out of the plantations ( Glaser, 2014) . Citizens from the black community most of them serving as slaves in South Carolina as well as other southern states, were expected to present passes for them to prove that they were allows to be out of the plantation, or whether they had been liberated, they were expected to show freedom papers as a proof that they were free. 

Black people at this time experienced harassment and were interrogated as well as whipped and other forms of physical punishment including death in the event they tried to run away. As the case of the racial profiling being witnessed in the United States currently, the skin color of the black person made them culprits to discriminatory treatment in the hands of the law enforcement and not their actions. 

In the modern America, people from the African-American origin in most cases are suspected of carrying out crimes such as being in possession of illegal drugs and this results in a stop-and-frisk, a vehicle search or sometimes a pat down. One thing that stands out in all this regardless of the fact that it has been more than one hundred and fifty years after slavery came to an end is being black as well as the racist association of the African American community with wrongdoing and criminality. 

Immediately after slavery and the period up to the 20th century, African American men across the Deep South were subjected into convict leasing in which they were involuntary leased to serve in private corporations and plantations like coal companies and railroad companies ( Shantz , 2010) . They were forced into different forms of convict leasing and in most cases through specified laws that had been set termed as black codes.

The codes targeted black people and were based on in asserting control while at the same time making the white people rich mostly depending on the free labor of the black population. Among these black codes were laws that were against vagrancy and this implied not being employed ( Shantz , 2010) . The convictions of this form of crime at that time would require the victims who in most cases were black people to serve off their sentences as workers for the white people. 

The most notable thing with regards to convict leasing and black codes about racial profiling is that they were against a fundamental principle of the democracy in the United States about the law of equal protection.

The 14th Amendment, which was later amended in 1868 into the Constitution, was specifically introduced to respond to the convict leasing and the black codes now that it was evident that the laws were being used different when it come to skin color of the victims, According to the 14th Amendment, the African-American citizens and the laws of equal protection, including the right to liberty, life, due process, and property ( Shantz , 2010)

Although the African-Americans have been the most affected in the history of racial profiling in America, the issue is not limited to the black people only. Following the 9/11 attacks, people of Muslim, South Asian, and Arab origin have been routinely set aside for subsequent interrogation and searches especially when crossing the borders to the United States ( Shantz , 2010)

Familiar figures such as Hasan Elahi have been under strict surveillance mainly because of their religion and nationality, yet they are not related in any way with the 9/11 attacks. The federal government has in the recent past been observed to increase its focus on law enforcement officers at the local law in apprehending immigrants who are not documented and practices that are deemed to segregate people of a given race like the stop and frisk rule mainly targeting the black.

Communities like the Latinos have in the recent past found themselves being targeted in detentions, stops, and investigations with the resources ramping out targeted by immigration enforcement. The law, in this case, is increasingly encouraging racial profiling, and this has resulted in more negative impacts in the United States that the laws are deemed to serve ( Shantz , 2010)


One thing that has stood out over the years is that racial profiling laws and practices such as stop and frisk do not work. One of the myths that racial profiling is based on is that it can work if only agencies of law enforcement could apply it. This is to mean that by not applying racial profiling, they are handing they are so lenient to the criminal in the name of observing their civil rights.

The myth is not true concerning the criminal records in the nation. A lawsuit involving the ACLU brought out data related to police and their criminal records which showed that while more than seventy-three percent of the suspects who were stopped on road blocks to be frisked were African Americans, suspects who were black were less likely to have illegal weapons or drugs in their cars as compared to the case of white suspects ( Ryberg, 2011)

Also, concerning the Public Health Service, about seventy percent of the citizens who use drugs are whites, only fifteen percent happen to be blacks, while the rest are mostly Latinos. However, looking at the data on the victims imprisoned on drug charges, forty-five percent were black, twenty-six percent were white, and twenty-one percent were Latino ( Ryberg, 2011)

Racial profiling has also been observed to distract agencies of law enforcement from making use of approaches that are more useful in curbing crime and drug use. It is evident that when suspects happen to be detained on the basis of their behavior and not race, the police tend to catch more suspects rightly. 

A report released in 2005 by the Missouri attorney general is an evidence of how racial profiling is not effective. White drivers stopped to be frisked basing on their suspicious behavior, were observed to have illegal material such as weapons and drugs twenty-four percent of the cases. 

On the hand, black drivers stopped to be frisked in a way that shows a racial profiling pattern were observed to possess illegal materials such as weapons and drugs nineteen percent of the cases. The above showed that racial profiling had enhanced that effectiveness of stop and frisk across the country. 

In the event that racial profiling is used, law enforcement officers mostly waste their time that is limited in suspects who are innocent. Racial profiling violets the Fourth Amendment in that according to the Fourth Amendment, no state is supposed to deny any American regardless of his or her race within its jurisdiction of the laws of equal protection. 

Latinos and the Blacks have been observed to be stopped and frisked more likely by law enforcement officers and are less likely to be handled like the rest of the law-abiding citizens. Whites, on the other hand, are less likely to be stopped and frisked by law enforcement officers and are treated more like law-abiding citizens. This is going against the equal protection concept ( Ryberg, 2011) .


Glaser. J., (2014). Suspect Race: Causes and Consequences of Racial Profiling . London: Oxford University Press

Ryberg, J., (2011). "Racial Profiling And Criminal Justice." Journal Of Ethics 15(1): 79-88

Shantz , J., (2010).  Racial Profiling and Borders: International, Interdisciplinary Perspectives . Lake Mary: Vandeplas

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