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Racial Profiling is Necessary Essay

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In order to understand racial profiling, it must first be correctly defined. Although different authors use different criteria for the term racial profiling, Merriam-Webster’s definition for the word racial is “of, relating to, or based on a race (Merriam-Webster, 2006; p.855).” The definition the dictionary puts forth for profiling is “the act of suspecting or targeting a person solely on the basis of observed characteristics or behavior (Merriam-Webster, 2006; p.830).” Based on these definitions, racial profiling could be defined for criminal justice purposes as targeting a person based solely on the characteristic of race. Most people, law enforcement officers included, would consider racial profiling based on this definition as ethically wrong. However, a case must be made for the use of profiling based on race in some circumstances.
Critics claim that racial profiling has no place within the justice system because it targets minorities who are not necessarily doing anything illegal. They argue that the evidence that shows that racial profiling as a successful tool in the law enforcement arsenal is skewed, and that those targeted are actually less likely to perform illegal acts than others who are not targeted, because those who are not are less likely to get caught, while those who are targeted are much more likely to be caught in an illegal act, so they will perform less illegal activity.
The evidence supporting racial profiling states that this argument is invalid because many illegal acts are cited as being done by minorities, specifically in terms of gang activity. Many people feel that racial profiling is ethically sound because in order to obtain a suspect, an officer must be looking for a person with certain chara...


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...rian’s perspective and he believed that any profiling based on race is wrong (Fredrickson, 2002; p.166).


Conclusion
Based on these authors, as well as others, it can be effectively argued that racial profiling is not, in and of itself, an unethical practice. However, it must be used in a precise manner in order to be morally sound. This method includes using it as a tool in the investigative process and not before it has been determined that a crime has been committed. It must also be used in a specific way: to describe an individual suspect and not a group of people who are suspected of possibly committing one crime or another. The witness’s background and bias must be taken into account, and racial profiling must be done equally and without favor to one racial group. After these steps are taken into account, racial profiling cannot be considered unethical.



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