Racial Profiling Based Upon Ethnicity and National Origin Essay

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To what extent can race, ethnicity, and national origin be used in targeting suspects for stops, searches, and arrests? This has become a growing concern of many since the tragic terrorist acts that took place on September 11th, 2001. Previously looked upon as unethical and almost universally condemned, the use of profiles based solely on race to identify possible terrorists is getting a second look. Both proponents and opponents are looking at the legitimacy and necessity of this practice. The United States has fought a long and difficult battle against racism and discrimination. Lives have been lost and many liberties have been infringed upon in the search for racial equality. Now that the 21st century as arrived, a large percentage of our population believes that the human species is intellectually advanced enough to discard race as a factor for any sort of discrimination or specialized treatment.

Today, terrorism faces worldwide attention, and it is assumed that terrorists who wish to harm the United States are concentrated in the Middle East or in countries with a predominate Muslim population such as Indonesia. The United States government has begun to develop strategies for detecting and apprehending terrorists. One of the most popular methods is racial profiling, using race and ethnicity as the main criteria for apprehending and detaining suspects. The United States has a large Arab-American and Muslim population; the question of whether the federal government should take race into account as the main factor when profiling for possible terrorists requires a balancing of moral, legal, equality, and liberty values, all values which our country was founded upon.

The significance of the question is personal ...

... middle of paper ... situation. Race should factor into the equation of profiling for terrorist, but only with minimal influence. Working in combination with other criteria, race could be used in the war on terror while only affecting Arabs and Muslims minimally. It could work, but the margin for error is great. The key factor in making this actually work in real life is discretion. Well-trained, unbiased people making up the system could insure the integrity of this practice. The government needs a comprehensive training program that will educate people. This education is necessary to dissolve racism in the United States and, at the same time, to maintain a feeling of security. Innocent people would not be needlessly harassed, and discrimination would be minimal. Until we can profile extremism or fundamentalism, we should not profile. Since we can't.... we shouldn't!

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