Racial Profiling


Emily Swindell

Discrimination has been around since the beginning of time, whether it be racial, homophobic, sexist, etc. But the real problem starts when verbal abuse turns to physical violence, and innocent people are targeted for the sole purpose of generalizing an entire race based on one’s own beliefs. It occurs every day, in cities and towns across the country, when law enforcement and private security target people of color and humiliate them with unethical interrogations, and searches without evidence of criminal activity based on race, ethnicity, national origin, or religion.

Racial profiling is not only illegal, but morally wrong, violating the U.S. Constitution’s core ideals of “all men created equal” and freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. It also results in alienation between communities and law enforcement and loss of credibility and trust among the people these law enforcements are sworn to protect and serve. We rely on the police to protect us from harm and promote fairness and justice in our communities. But racial profiling has led countless people to live in fear, casting entire communities as suspect simply because of what they look like, where they come from, or what religion they belong to.

According to some statistics from vittana.org, “African-American/Black drivers are twice as likely (4.5% vs. 2.1%) to be arrested during a traffic stop, 65% of Hispanic drivers are likely to receive a ticket during a traffic stop, which is higher than Caucasian/White drivers (56%), and Whites/Caucasians are twice more likely to receive a verbal warning for their conduct in a vehicle when compared to Blacks/African-Americans.” These statistics are devastating but very real and it’s completely unfair to the people of color whose lives are made harder because other people feel they’re “less than.”

The point being, racial profiling affects a wide array of communities of color, religion, and more. Since the September 11th attacks alone, members of Muslim, Arab, and Middle Eastern communities have been profiled by airline personnel, federal law enforcement, and local police. This is not only disrespectful, but it violates the rights bestowed upon American citizens simply because of their religious beliefs and the way they look or dress. Racial profiling reflects poorly on our country as a whole and I sincerely hope that sometime in the future it becomes non-existent completely.