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Racial Profiling: An American Crisis Essay

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The concept of racial profiling has been given many different definitions. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, racial profiling refers to “the discriminatory practice by law enforcement officials of targeting individuals for suspicion of crime based on the individual's race, ethnicity, religion or national origin.” Everyday, people fall victim to racial profiling. Some people argue that racial profiling is a necessary and practical form of law enforcement. Others deny its entire existence. Sadly, racial profiling does exist, and it plagues our nation. Unfortunately stopping racial profiling completely is very difficult. Police are people and will fall victim to stereotypes and assumptions. That said, we must acknowledge the fact that racial profiling is unconstitutional. It violates the 4th amendment which guarantees the right to be safe from unreasonable search and seizure without probable cause, and the 14th amendment which requires that all citizens be treated equally under the law. The practice of racial profiling also contradicts one of the most well known phrases in the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

Racial profiling has its roots in the older technique of criminal profiling. Criminal profiling became popular in the middle of the twentieth century when it was successfully used by a psychiatrist to find a serial bomber. Then, in the 1960’s and 1970’s, after a rash of airplane hijackings or “skyjackings”, experts used similar techniques to form a profile for sky jackers. They taught airline personnel to look out for a list of 25 different characteristics; none which were related to a particular race or ethnic group. Unfortunately, the pr...


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...reated a law that makes it a state crime to be in the state illegally, allows police to arrest or fine a person who fails to provide U.S. identification, and allows police to detain anyone who they suspect to be an illegal alien. While supporters argue that the law is necessary, critics believe that the new law will open the door for racial profiling. And if this is true, Arizona’s 1.7 million residents of Hispanic or Latino origin are potential victims.

Racial profiling doesn’t just exist today, it thrives. It is used by law enforcement everyday even though it is both unjust and unconstitutional. Not only does it violate the core principles of this country, but it can be dangerous. It threatens our national security and, on a deeper level, racial profiling is a threat to racial equality, something that the people of the United States have fought to achieve.



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