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Racial Profiling In America

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Racial profiling is a form of racial discrimination targeted towards individuals that are ethnic minorities. Profiling in law enforcement occurs when law government agencies and officials decide to investigate a person on suspicion that the person stopped committed an illegal offense, based solely on their ethnicity and racial identity. Racial profiling is very apparent in Kenneth Meeks' story, "Shopping in a Group While Black," Johnnie Cochran's "My Brother's Keeper," and the video text entitled, "Guilty Until Proven Innocent." Racial profiling is illegal, yet the practice has been proven and documented as occurring in many agencies on the state and national level.

For example, In Kenneth Meeks' story, "Shopping in a Group While Black," a group of black students who are on a college basketball team are strolling through the mall with their coach. Mall security guards target the group accuses them of theft even though nothing had been stolen. This is a type of racial profiling that takes place in many stores and malls throughout the United States. When a large group of black kids are shopping together they are automatically suspected of stealing by store security. Recently, Macy's has agreed to pay New York State $600,000 in a settlement that mirrors the Meek's story. Macy's was found to have engaged in racial profiling and the unlawful handcuffing of customers suspected of shoplifting. The state attorney general stated that the majority of the customers detained were black and Latino. This was a disproportionately high number when compared to the actual percentage of those minorities who actually shopped at Macy's.

Some malls have even banned groups from shopping together, usually restricting the group to five or less people. This is discriminatory. In Meek's story, the store manager makes this statement, "Perhaps you wouldn't have a problem if you didn't have all these kids coming into the mall at the same time." It seems to be the store manager who has a problem. The kids in the text were part of a basketball team and could not split up. The coach replies, "What am I supposed to do? Bring them in two at a time, go back and bring in two more?" There are actions being taken to decrease the incidence of racial profiling by retailers. As part of the settlement, Macy's will implement a training program for their security employees regarding discrimination and conduct audits regularly on their security practices.

The visual text, "Guilty Until Proven Innocent," presented another powerful message about racial profiling and the abuse of authority. It was obvious that the police from Area 4 in the video abused their power and swayed young black kids into confessing to a crime they did not commit. It seemed like the whole authoritarian system in Cooks County: Pamela Fish, officers, and the chief of police, was a system based on discrimination. This department reminded me of COINTELPRO and its secret purpose to target any person involved with the unification of African Americans. Fortunately, this type of profiling is not taught at the police academy, but seems to be attributed to individual officers or rogue departments.

Additionally, criminal profiling is a problem because it reinforces the public perception that certain groups are more likely to commit certain crimes. It boosts the idea that minorities are drug uses, pushers, and couriers. It leads to fear of police, frustration, loss of self-respect, and feeling of being targeted.

In "My Brother's Keeper," Johnnie Cochran admits to being somewhat naпve to the nature of racial profiling. But when he took on the case of Black Panther, Geronimo Pratt, he realized just how corrupt the authoritarian system can be. Evidence of such corruption can be found when the FBI had wiretap records showing the Pratt was in Oakland three hours before the murders he is accused of happened in Santa Monica. The police also manipulated the line-up by having Pratt wear a Safari style jacket, which is what the attacker was wearing at the time



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