People of color get pulled over more than white people. Is it because the people of color are all criminals or because the police are getting lazier? people who use racial profiling usually have a negative perception or judgment about African Americans. Racial profiling is a hot subject in the world today. Racial profiling is a fact of life for many Americans today, and I for one think it’s sad. Authors Ahmed Rehab and Randall Kennedy both comment on the negative impact that racial profiling has on society today in America.
These authors helped me to see the reason why racial profiling is still used, but at the same time they helped to confirm my position on why racial profiling is always wrong. In his article, “You Can’t Judge a Crook by His Color” Randall Kennedy observes that police use racial profiling to make their jobs easier. Yes it may save time and prevent some crimes, but what about the people in between catching the suspect? Nobody cares if they are getting harassed and wrongfully accused (501-2). Kennedy also notices some of the other negative impacts of racial profiling.
He uses a quote from a black political leader to show this negative social attitude. “There is nothing more painful to me at this age in my life,” Jesse Jackson said in 1993 , “than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start to think about robbery and then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved”(501). So if the advocate of colored people is tricked into thinking that African Americans are bad as a result of the popular trend of racial profiling, imagine the impact that racial profiling has on the average American citizen.
These people are taught to profile every person they see because it will protect them from being hurt or harassed. Later on in the essay Kennedy states, “Individuals should be judged by public authorities on the basis of their own conduct and not on the basis of racial generalization”(502). This statement helps to show how racial profiling is wrong because it’s not based on a way a persons acts or behaves. Based on my personal experience I agree with this idea. I had an experience with racial profiling where I was riding in the passenger eat on my way to the mall and a cop had pulled us over. We didn’t do anything wrong. The officer asked my friend for his license and registration and after he was done with that he leaned over and asked me if I was on probation. I asked him why and he said, “because you look like you are”. At this time I was younger so I didn’t acknowledge it. Now that I look back at it, the way he pulled us over was inappropriate. It is not worth all the harassment and torture the cops put people through to catch a perp.
Innocent people get hurt and put in jail for no reason because of racial profiling. People racially profile their own race too. My uncle who is African American is guilty of racially profiling other African Americans as a police officer. One day he had an experience that changed the way he viewed racial profiling in society. He was off duty, just riding in the car with my dad. For some reason a cop pulled him over and took him out of the car and searched him because he fit a description that a women gave the for a person that was sitting outside her house stalking her.
Even though he had different clothes on, they still told him his face looked like the criminal they were trying to catch. My uncle felt embarrassed about the situation. At this point my uncle realized that racial profiling is more hurtful rather than helpful in the prevention of crime in America. Kennedy states that, “Public opinion surveys have established that blacks distrust law enforcement more than whites” (503). My uncle the police officer now can relate to this opinion because of his experience. Ahmed Rehab also agrees that racial profiling is not the best way to keep America safe.
He expresses in his article, “Why Racial Profiling Makes for Dumb Security” that racial profiling in airports is not the best way to help protect Americans against terrorism. He claims that racial profiling is the lazy way to prevent terrorism. He believes that racial profiling limits security to being suspicious of people who look like criminals of the past instead of worrying about every person who could be a potential threat. He is upset because there are better ways that can be used but people insist on judging a threat by their appearance and name rather than going through proper security protocols.
After noticing how many middle eastern men are being stopped for being suspicious, Rehab states, “And when we’ve flagged all middle-eastern and black men with exotic names, they are going to send a white British guy with an Angelo name like Richard Reid. Oh wait they already did” (495). He points out that the government has already failed at trying to stop terrorism using their methods. Now it’s time to change those ways and use a more productive and secure method to stop these attacks. I remember reading a story about an airport security officer that was at LAX on 9/11.
He explained that he remembers seeing those terrorists get on the plane. He could have stopped them but he had no reason to. They traveled with no bags and seemed to be nervous is what the officer said. At his post he was not in charge of “the random checks. ” He didn’t stop them and thus 9/11 happened. So I guess their random check skipped those two men. If the airport security would have followed a secure and more resourceful protocol, they would have picked up on the terrorists carrying no bags and acting nervously.
Racial profiling is wrong and should not be accepted in our society. Rehab and Kennedy both helped me come to the conclusion that no matter what the situation is or how well it works sometimes, Racial profiling does not help society; it only hurts us. Racial profiling only handicaps Americans because it causes us to think in a small window and not open our minds up and explore all possibilities. People should judge each other on their actions and not how they talk, look, dress, and most importantly the color of their skin. I believe that racial profiling is always unacceptable.