Anti-Racial Profiling Policy - Essay Example

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University of California, Santa Barbara
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Racial profiling is the act and practice of law enforcement agencies of discriminating individuals based on their ethnicity, race, religion or nationality rather than suspicious behavior. Trevor Noahs autobiography Born a Crime is an accurate example of first-hand narration of racial profiling in apartheid South Africa. The term "driving while black/brown" has come up over the years in society to describe the typical behavior of traffic police officers stopping black, Asian or Latino drivers and searching their vehicles without probable cause (Glaser, J. 2015). Probable cause in the case of driving would be something like driving over the speed limit or ignoring traffic lights. Racial profiling is illegal according to the United States Constitution which advocates for equal treatment of all citizens. Racial profiling is a direct contravention of the fourth amendment which should protect all regardless of their race against unreasonable searches and seizures including unfounded arrests.

Some people in law enforcement argue empirically that racial profiling works (Briggs, 2014).President Donald J. Trump advocates for laws that promote racial profiling. From before he was president up to now, President Trump has repeatedly talked about racial profiling being used to fight terrorism. Trump cited Israel saying that racial profiling has been successful in dealing with Hamas rebels. This thinking is regrettably wrong. Israel and the United States are two different nations with different environments. The United States of America has over 323 million people, and American citizens can trace their ancestry to all the continents except for Antarctica. Hence, what works in Israel with a population less than 9 million will fail in the USA.

As mentioned before, racial profiling is illegal in the eyes of the law. The laws that should protect people from racial profiling are not strict enough. The people who suffer the most from racial profiling are admittedly the minorities of the populace- the blacks, Hispanics, and Muslims. Empirical data on racial profiling detailing exact numbers and figures and corresponding ethnicities is surprisingly almost non-conclusive (Omi & Winant, 2014). Most of the studies done are just generalizations for example "a black man is 3.4 times more likely to be stopped at a traffic point than a white man"- things people already know. What has come up is that in the instances where a police officer assaults or kills an innocent, upon a lawsuit usually the outcome is either a mistrial or compensation for the family- the police officer keeps his job. The family is left bereft even after being compensated, and there are some instances of relatives seeking revenge (Legewie, 2016). There should be a law that aims to protect citizens by enforcing specific punishments on police for wrongful arrest, treatment and such other action based on nothing but racial profiling.

The law should be a national law debated and passed by Congress and to be put in effect in all the fifty states. In 2014 the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) published a report which found out that 20 states lack laws which should forbid racial profiling by law enforcement personnel. 33 states do not have record keeping on all police searches and stops. Only 15 states analyze and publish these and other racial profiling information. Civil rights groups and local law enforcement should be involved in the congressional bill. Ordinary American citizens are more likely to encounter local police officers rather than the FBI (Miller, 2013). Checks and balances for officer conduct should be in the policy. Police officers should have records concerning their past arrests and searches and which ones of these were instances of racial profiling. For this effect in practice, this necessitates changes in the police- starting from the academy when recruiting. A racial profiling test should be part of the exam- perhaps it should be the primary exam. Research on the cultures of all police divisions' country-wide should be done. The locals should be invited to give feedback and a report compiled and used in preparing the policy. "Nobody is above the law" should not be just something we see in movies.


Briggs, C. (2014). The Reasonableness of a Race-Based Suspicion: The Fourth Amendment and the Costs and Benefits of Racial Profiling in Immigration Enforcement. S. Cal. L. Rev., 88, 379.

Glaser, J. (2015). Suspect race: Causes and consequences of racial profiling. Oxford University Press, USA.

Miller, K. (2013). The institutionalization of racial profiling policy: An examination of anti-profiling policy adoption among large law enforcement agencies. Crime & delinquency, 59(1), 32-58.

Legewie, J. (2016). Racial profiling and use of force in police stops: how local events trigger periods of increased discrimination. American journal of sociology, 122(2), 379-424.

Omi, M., & Winant, H. (2014). Racial formation in the United States. Routledge.

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