Racial Profiling Pros and Cons List

Since the September 11th attacks, the term racial profiling has found its way across the lips of many Americans. Even 13 years later people of Middle Eastern decent feel like they are targeted and singled out in airports and other places. Just recently new federal guidelines, that restrict racial profiling, do not apply at airports or United States borders. Proponents for racial profiling say that it is necessary for the security of American citizens, while the other side of the fence argues that our civil liberties are being violated. There are legitimate pros and cons for both sides of this argument.

Pros of Racial Profiling

1. Security
Racial profiling can help law enforcement find a possible suspect based on racial cues. Statistically certain ethnicities are more likely to commit certain types of crimes.

2. Reasonable
Racial profiling can be deemed reasonable when it is determined that a certain group of people are more likely to have the same ideology. For instance Islamic ideology is more prevalent in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. People from those countries are typically thought to be sympathetic to Islamic ideologies.

3. Costly
Profiling can save money when law enforcement is looking for a specific criminal. Knowing what type of person fits the profile of the criminal they are looking for can save resources. However the downfall to profiling in this instance is if the profile is wrong then resources are wasted.

List of Cons of Racial Profiling

1. Racist
The biggest complaint is that racial profiling is racist. Generalizations are made about a whole community that can be unfounded accusations. It is immoral to treat one person with suspicion bases solely on the color of someone’s skin.

2. Unethical
Although racial profiling can help narrow down a suspect pool it will also target a particular group that contains people that have committed no crime at all.

3. Racial Tension
In areas where racial profiling is most prevalent by law enforcement animosities tend to run high which results in those most likely to be profiled against won’t cooperate with law enforcement when necessary even if they have not committed any crimes.

4. Statistically
There is no statistical proof that racial profiling can identify someone that has just committed a crime. Detaining someone under the assumption that they may have committed a crime is a civil liberties violation.

Final Thoughts

People that have been racially profiled unjustly find it hard to trust that law enforcement will operate impartially. Our criminal justice system is dependent on the idea that an individual has specific rights. Without concrete evidence a person should not be persecuted for their ethnic background. Racial profiling is a direct violation of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United State Constitution and in some instances when racial profiling is used to search someone or their belongings it violates their fourth amendment as well.