Racial profiling has become a very sensitive topic, as well as a very severe obstacle in the United States today for many. It is known as the inclusion of racial or ethnic characteristics in determining whether an individual is considered likely to commit a particular type of crime or illegal act. Media can also sway one’s attitude towards an ethnic group that is not their own. Everyday, people are pulled over, harassed, and even killed for being a certain race.
Although some people think it could be “common sense” or “obvious” that one of a certain race would be committing a crime, Racial profiling does not increase the safety of the communities. A number of individuals believe that racial profiling is beneficial for the country because it helps secure our safety from delinquents; however, truth is that it does the opposite and this when violence comes into play. Hate crimes are becoming frequent as the years go by. Derogatory terms such as nigger and spic are all part of the problem when it comes to racial profiling (Harris).”Homophobia and others are biases which can cultivate crimes of hate” (Spagnoli).
Crimes began advancing after September 11, 2001 after the attacks at the world trade center by al-Qaeda. “Balbir Singh Sodhi was gunned down on Sept. 15, 2001 in Mesa, Arizona. The turban-wearing Sikh was killed outside his gas station. Sodhi’s killer spent the hours before the murder in a bar, bragging of his intention to ‘kill the ragheads responsible for September 11′” (Hanania). Stories like this one are sickening. No one has the right to kill another person just because they look like or practice the same religion as others who have nothing to do with them. Others have also been brutally killed as well.
“More than 62 percent of crimes motivated by bias against ethnicity or national origin are committed against Hispanics” (Hate Crimes Against Latinos on the Rise). Hate crimes are increasing and are developing into problematic situations. Hispanics are also and not the only ethnicity that have fallen victims to hate crimes. Many people have fallen victim to these types of crimes and nothing is being done to prevent them from happening again. I see no safety coming from discrimination as others do.
Incarceration rates are proof that racial discrimination occurs all over the United States. “Incarceration rates in the United States have risen sharply since 1980,” stated Filip Spagnoli, “the racial distribution of inmates in the U.S. is highly negative for black Americans. Whereas they only make up 12% of the total U.S. population, they represent more than 40% of inmates.
” Black Americans are one of the many races that are accused of many crimes that they are innocent of and being imprisoned for them. “The Negro is generally — the absence of psychological evidence to the contrary — regarded as inferior in native intelligence and prone to certain types of crimes, especially sex offences” (Sellin). Addy Bareiss, a five-year volunteer and worker at the ACLU of Arizona affirmed, “A 2008 report by the ACLU of Louisiana found that people of color were arrested at higher rates than their representation in the population in every town, city, and parish examined.
” Imprisonment of innocent people, as well as stereotypes, has to come to a stop. When officers are focusing mainly on a certain group, they overlook criminals of other races who actually deserve to be in prison. She also stated, “black and Hispanic residents were stopped, frisked, searched, and arrested by Los Angeles Police Department officers far more frequently than white residents, and that these disparities were not justified by local crime rates or by any other legitimate policing rationale evident from LAPD’s extensive data” (Bareiss, Addy). Stereotypes play a significant part of racial profiling. When officers see a black or Hispanic man, labels that society place on them usually pop in their head as most people do; but these labels should not be the deciding factor on if that man or woman should be imprisoned for insignificant issues that are not worthwhile. Law enforcement has used racial profiling to “help” prevent criminal activity. A survey done by the department of justice when officers focused more on African-American and Latino drivers they found that less of them had drugs the when they least focused on white drivers (The Truth About Racial Profiling: FIVE FACTS). Some officers assume that Hispanics and African-Americans are carrying around illegal substances and weapons.
This is not always true. As the survey revealed, most of the people who did have prohibited items were white Americans. Law enforcement should begin stopping drivers by suspicion, not by their race.
Similar information was found in a survey conducted by Ian Ayres and Jonathan Borowsky. “We also found that, once people were stopped, officers were more likely to frisk, search, or arrest African-Americans and Latinos than whites…when these frisks and searches are substantially less likely to uncover weapons, drugs, or other types of contraband” (Borowsky, Ayres). Officers are spending more time on race than focusing on real criminals who are ousting the reasons why this country is remarkable. Other cases like these have been confirmed as well. “Relative to stopped whites, stopped blacks is 127% more likely and stopped Hispanics are 43% more likely to be frisked” (Racial Profiling in the LAPD). These numbers are ridiculous! How many more innocent people are bound to be victims of racial profiling until they realize it is wrong? The government is here to maintain justice and peace throughout the country. How is SB 1070, a law that passed in 2010 and originated in Arizona, preserving justice? “The effects of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office’s targeting of Latinos, including American citizens and lawful permanent residents, in its mass sweeps and enforcement operations only make it worse in Arizona” (Bareiss, Addy). This law has parts which are in contradiction of the fourth amendment of the constitution! The Bill of Rights clearly states, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized” (The First 10 Amendments to the Constitution as Ratified by the States).
Since this law has passed there has been over two dozen bills passed in other states as well–Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina, and Utah, to just name a few–that mimic this law. “Laws inspired by Arizona’s SB 1070 invite rampant racial profiling against Latinos, Asian-Americans and others presumed to be “foreign” based on how they look or sound. They also authorize police to demand papers proving citizenship or immigration status from anyone they stop and suspect of being in the country unlawfully” (ACLU.
org). Undoubtedly this law violates the rights of people of color, race, and religion, our rights as people of the United States and unquestionably disobeys the values of America: fairness and equality amongst all. Racial profiling violates our rights and does not escalate safety. Profiling promotes hate crimes and leaves victims more often than not deceased.
Innocent folks are being pulled over and incarcerated and at times even killed by this horrific issue. Discrimination needs to come to an end and it only will if every person in this country can accept each other and their differences.