Racial Profiling: We Are All Guilty

By: Ethan Mangelsdorf

Looked at with fear, pushed with aggression, and handcuffed for being black, doesn’t seem right to me. Racial profiling is taken to lightly in the United States of America, from children to law enforcement, change needs to be manufactured.  

Racial Profiling and implicit bias go hand in hand, the implicit bias that societies previous criminal activity have planted in our brains have a direct effect on racial profiling. In An article from Gale Database written by Peter Siggins states that people with differences in their skin color from a white caucasian male have broken the law about the same number of times this year as a Caucasian male. But according to the New York Times, African Americans were handcuffed but NOT arrested at a traffic stop almost 3000 more times in a 13 month period than Caucasians. Ceasing racial profiling in society is vital because people are receiving wrongful action by citizens, law enforcement and the judicial system because of it. Take Darren Martin who was interviewed by CNN to discuss his recent encounter with racial profiling. Holly Yan a journalist from CNN says that Darren Martin was moving into his new apartment when the police were called on him, and he was accused of being an armed burglar.  That neighbor who called the police had an implicit bias towards African American men. Whether it was from talking to a friend about a criminal who was an African American man, or something else, her implicit bias took fourth in her brain and profiled an innocent man as a danger to society because he was black.

Darren Martin described the encounter as “Dehumanizing”.

Not only is racial profiling deteriorating the sanity of people it is also affecting law enforcement and the judicial system. “In 4 states in the US, police officers are more likely to stop Black drivers for no discernible reason. They are also more likely to use force if the driver is Black, even when physical resistance is not encountered.” from the editorial board of the New York Times. The implicit bias that the police officers have affected their judgment, and they act in a racist manner. Curtis Flowers was a Man who the Editorial Board of The New York Times believes was wrongfully accused of the murder of five people. They believe racism was the cause. A District Attorney named Doug Evans who tried Curtis Flowers several times unconstitutionally excluded a number of blacks from serving as jurors at the sixth trial. The Jury decided Flowers was guilty. Flowers received the Death Penalty. Because he was black the jury swung their vote to have him sentenced to death.

But it doesn’t just happen to African Americans. Muslims have been racially profiled and stereotyped as terrorists. “An additional form of “racial” profiling emerged after September 11, 2001. The concerted terrorist attacks of that day ushered in a terrorist profile.” from Gale Database. People all around the world see Muslims different from a different viewpoint now because of 911, and that creates a bias towards them.

Societies implicit bias is altered every time there is a story in the news or a conversation with a friend, and that is unchangeable. But it’s time for a change with how society approaches racism. CNN says that young parents should expose kids to more positive images of other racial groups and help their kids develop diverse friendships to prevent racial profiling. CNN also recommends that if people would talk openly about racism and its harmful effects on people, then more sympathy or even empathy would develop leading towards the lessening of racial profiling. Maya Angelou says it best “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, forget what you did, but will never forget how you made them feel.” Stand up for one another and stop yourself from racial profiling.

 

Works Cited:

  1. Ayres, Crystal. “24 Frightening Racial Profiling Statistics.” Vittana.org, 2017,
  2. Yan, Holly. “This Is Why Everyday Racial Profiling Is so Dangerous.” CNN, Cable News Network, 11 May 2018,
  3. “Racial Profiling in an Age of Terrorism.” Crime and Punishment: Essential Primary Sources, edited by K. Lee Lerner and Brenda Wilmoth Lerner, Gale, 2006, pp. 398-402. Global Issues in Context,
  4. Board, The Editorial. “Racism in Jury Selection Is Real. Can the Supreme Court Put an End to It?” The New York Times, The New York Times, 22 Mar. 2019,
  5. Williams, Brian N. “Racial Profiling and Biased Policing.” Encyclopedia of Race and Racism, edited by Patrick L. Mason, 2nd ed., vol. 3, Macmillan Reference USA, 2013, pp. 401-406. Global Issues in Context, Accessed 18 Apr. 2019.