Racial Profiling in America. This is a look at a specific problem in policing today. The subject is Racial profiling during traffic stops

Essay by chudUniversity, Bachelor'sB-, March 2005

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Racial Profiling in America.

In the past 10 years a regular occurrence has become a problem threatening the very well-being and respectability of Americas police departments. This problem is racial profiling. Racial Profiling occurs in many places but is greatly scrutinized and publicized in regards to traffic stops. Racial profiling in traffic stops is a practice that is wrong under our constitutional rights and it is an "un-American" way of thinking to target only blacks, Caucasian, or Hispanics or any other ethnic group as a group of wrongdoers (Harris, 2001). It undermines the civil order that police organizations strive to maintain because racial profiling causes police organizations to be seen as un-trustworthy or that they are not fair to all people in their duties (Cleary, 2000). Racial profiling can be defined in several different ways; some definitions are more effective than others are.

One common definition of racial profiling is, "the police use of race as the sole basis for initiating law enforcement activities."

(Meehan and Ponder; 2002 p.2) By this definition, for an activity to count as racial profiling the officer's motivation or intent to discriminate must be demonstratable. The actions of an officer are not to be based on race, but rather on how the person was acting or from information that would cause the officer to target the individual as a culprit in criminal activity. However, racial profiling can be extended further by not limiting the definition to the actions of police as being "solely" based on race. (Langworthy and Travis 1999 Pg. 422) Other factors can have an impact on a racially biased police officer that must be addressed. The officer may make a decision to pull someone over because of their race and the neighborhood they are in or because of...