On February 26 2012, 17 year old black teen, Trayvon Martin was shot to death in Sanford Florida.
He was walking home after buying a snack from 7 eleven when he was encountered by George Zimmerman, a 28-year-old neighborhood watch volunteer. Zimmerman called the police saying “This guy looks like he’s up to no good, or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining, and he’s just walking around.” The cop told him that he didn’t have to follow the teen around but he did it anyway. Many witnesses said they clearly heard a gunshot. It came from Zimmerman’s handgun. The bullet went into Martin’s left chest.
Zimmerman claimed that Martin attacked him and It was only then, in self-defense, that he took out his gun and shot the teen. Martin’s family have said they believe Zimmerman, Racially profiled the African-American teen. Racial profiling is the act of suspecting or targeting a person of a certain race based on a stereotypes, rather than on an individual suspicion. Some people believe that it not wrong to racially profile saying that It is proven that some ethnicities have a higher crime rate and it is not wrong to have a suspicion that he or she might be doing something illegal and you are not harming anyone if you target someone. People also say its okay because they rather be safe and if it takes racial profiling to insure their safety they are okay with it. Other people’s opinions are just influenced by hatred or intolerance and misunderstanding. So is racial profiling a problem and to what extent is it institutionalized in North America? I believe racial profiling is a problem we as a society need to fix as soon as possible. Racial profiling is unfair and should not be encouraged.
Racial profiling conveys a message to the citizens of every nation that judgment on criminal offenses is based on their skin color. Not only is it wrong to judge people because of their skin colour, racial profiling have cost the lives of many innocent people.Causes and Context:One of the main causes of racial profiling is lack of education and acceptance towards people of colour and basing people’s personality according to the stereotypes based off of stereotype associated with minorities, particularly African Americans, Hispanics and Arabs/South Asians with crime. Media also plays a big part in the cause of racial profiling. Media often targets people of colour and portrays them to be violent which causes fear and discrimination towards racialized people and makes society think everyone of that race is the same.
In the United States, the most of the common type of racial profiling is police officers targeting individuals mainly based off their race or ethnicity with no valid reason. Studies show that police officers are more likely to pull over and frisk African American or Latinos than white people. In New York City, 80% of the stops made were African Americans and Latinos, compared to a 8% of white people stopped. U.
S. Sentencing Commission reported that African Americans receive longer sentences than whites through the federal system for the same crimes. An African American male has a 32% chance of going to jail in his lifetime, while a Latino male has a 17% chance, and a white male only has a 6% chance. The most common victims of racial profiling are African American, Hispanics and Natives. However, since the tragedy of September 11, 2001, when the twin towers collapsed in New York, Arabs and Muslims have been labelled as potential terrorists and a target of racial profiling.Impacts:Those who have not experienced racial profiling or do not know anyone who has, it may be nothing more than a small inconvenience but in reality racial profiling actually has many severe consequences. Those who have experience racial profiling have to pay the price emotionally, psychologically, mentally and financially and physically.
As noted by criminologist Scott Wortley: “To argue that racial profiling is harmless, that it only hurts those who break the law, is to totally ignore the psychological and social damage that can result from always being considered one of the usual suspects.” Studies show that the psychological effects of racial profiling include post-traumatic stress disorder and other forms of stress related disorders. Racial profiling not only impact those who directly experience it, It also impacts everyone friends, classmates, and neighbours. Most common Impact of racial profiling is police officers targeting African American and Hispanic teens and shooting them even though they were innocent saying it was in self defense. Just like what happened to Trayvon Martin another African American named Charles Kinsey was taking care of an autistic patient when he was shot in the leg even though he had his hands up the entire time.
These are only some of the many incidents involving police shooting unarmed and innocent people of colour. One of the most important impact of racial profiling is the effect it has on children and youth. Racial profiling is jeopardizing the future of our children and youth and the future prosperity of all Canadians particularly through the education system and law enforcement. Student’s experience in school have a major effect on self-image and self-esteem. Many people have concerns with racial profiling in the education system and children of colour are being stereotyped as slow learners and aggressive, and are considered to be the cause of any problems at school. Behaviour is considered a “kid being a kid” is seen as threatening when a racialized child is involved. Often when a racialized child is involved in a conflict with a White child, his or her explanation is ignored or not believed and he or she is punished more severely compared to a white child. With the loss of education not only affects the child’s self esteem it also lead to increase of criminalization in children.
People who are Muslim or Arab/South Asian said they felt unwelcome after the tragedy of September 11, 2001. Members of the community avoided, discriminated and attacked them due to a fear of potential consequences. This behaviour towards Muslims rubbed off on children because even they attacked other Muslim kids at school. Some examples of racial profiling towards Muslims and anyone who looks brown and has a beared: a Sikh man who was wearing a turban being asked to leave a the plane at due to a passenger complaint because they didn’t feel safe around him. Law enforcement officials going to the workplaces questioning them in front of their colleagues. A money transfer agency refusing to transfer money to a man without conducting a security clearance just because his first name is Muhammad. Being searched more compared to others others when flying or crossing the Canada/U.S.
border. Some other impacts of racial profiling is police officers targeting African American teens and killing them even though they were innocent saying it was in self defense just like what happened to Trayvon Martin. Existing Solutions:The United States’ constitution Fourth Amendment guaranteed every citizen protection against unreasonable search. In addition, the amendment made it a must that all citizens face a fair trial in accordance to the law without considering their racial backgrounds. Various U.S presidents have come out strong opposing the issues related to racial profiling. For example, President Bush in his speech to the Joint Congress on the February of 2001, stated that Racial Profiling was wrong and mentioned that it was time it was fully alleviated from the U.S.
Unfortunately, most of the law enforcement officials view the use of racial profiling effective and essential. They say that higher crime rates in certain communities made up of larger percentages of minority populations. Although this Law against Racial Profiling takes place in the U.
S, there are many cases where it still happens and nothing happens to the person. Some states in the United States like Georgia and Mississippi dont have laws against Racial Profiling. Aside from U.S, Canada also has Laws against racial profiling. New Model:Potential solutions that could take place to prevent racial profiling could be The use of Artificial intelligence for things like jobs for less bias and racist choices. We could also Inform and raise awareness among the general public, groups vulnerable to racial profiling and institutional players like government, police, lawyers, judges, security agencies, immigration officers, etc and we could do that with the use of technology and social media. Additionally, we should Legislate laws specifically against racial profiling, introduce appropriate criminal and civil penalties, and improve the effectiveness of the system to manage complaints against law enforcement officers. With these new solutions i believe it would make a good impact against racial profiling and is a great step forward to make a change.
Conclusion:In conclusion, Racial Profiling is a big problem we are facing and not does it only impact people of colour, it impacts everyone as a society. Racial profiling conveys a wrong message to society that judgment on criminal offenses is based on their skin color and not how they are as a person. Judging people based off the colour of their skin or their ethnicity is wrong and nothing can justify it. Saying it is okay just because of stereotypes and fear not only causes mental health problems and physical harm on them but also everyone else because if children are losing the opportunity of education that will lead to a lower economy in the future. Now is the time to come together and fight towards a better and safer environment for everyone with equal rights, treatment and opportunity.