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Racial Profiling

Essay by   •  November 25, 2010  •  474 Words (2 Pages)  •  1,738 Views

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Racial Profiling: Definition

"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. Criminal profiling, generally, as practiced by police, is the reliance on a group of characteristics they believe to be associated with crime. Examples of racial profiling are the use of race to determine which drivers to stop for minor traffic violations (commonly referred to as "driving while black or brown"), or the use of race to determine which pedestrians to search for illegal contraband.

Another example of racial profiling is the targeting, ongoing since the September 11 th attacks, of Arabs, Muslims and South Asians for detention on minor immigrant violations in the absence of any connection to the attacks on the World Trade Center or the Pentagon.

Law enforcement agent includes a person acting in a policing capacity for public or private purposes. This includes security guards at department stores, airport security agents, police officers, or, more recently, airline pilots who have ordered passengers to disembark from flights, because the passengers' ethnicity aroused the pilots' suspicions. Members of each of these occupations have been accused of racial profiling.

Racial profiling does not refer to the act of a law enforcement agent pursuing a suspect in which the specific description of the suspect includes race or ethnicity in combination with other identifying factors.

Defining racial profiling as relying "solely" on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin or religion can be problematic. This definition found in some state racial profiling laws is unacceptable, because it fails to include when police act on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin

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