An issue discussed in civil rights related and race research is that of racial profiling. Though racial profiling is popular with many police departments, it raises many questions. In a research paper on racial profiling, be sure to take a firm stance and make a clear and concise argument that compares and contrasts each side of the debate. The issue of racial profiling has created two sides to the issue:
- The debate on one side of the arguing that it violates the civil liberties of certain racial groups and therefore should be prohibited
- The other side arguing maintains that certain racial groups are more likely to be involved in breaking the law and in terrorist activity in particular, and therefore should be implemented even more prolifically
In fact, the research offers greater evidence that racial profiling is essential to preserving the safety and security of American citizens and therefore should be accepted as a necessary evil in the war against terrorism.
A news report submitted by the ACLU cited the court case Rodrigues, et al.v. California Highway Patrol et al. This case demonstrated that "drug interdiction officers in the Central and Coastal Divisions were three times as likely to search Latinos as whites, and African Americans were twice as likely to be searched. (ACLU 2001)" Proponents of profiling might say that there are simply more Latinos or African Americans in that part of the states. Those opposed to racial profiling would disagree. In your racial profiling term paper, take a firm stance! Profiling moves beyond who is actually stopped as a crime suspect.
Some people suggest that the pursuit and identification of criminals and terrorists should include not only people whose color marks them as suspect but also other identifiable groups such as grandmothers whose apparent integrity and innocence would otherwise preclude their being suspect, as if broadening the list of groups scrutinized by law enforcement is the solution. Research might offer the best solution, which is that all types of profiling, whether the type designed to identify common lawbreakers and serious criminals or to identify terrorists, should be carried out in a scientific manner. Rather than merely profiling individuals on the distinct characteristic or race or ethnicity, profiling should be based on several criteria including but not confined to the identifiable interactions and associations of individuals. Although a more scientific approach might translate to higher costs in crime prevention and national security, standardized methods should be developed to simplify the process and reduce costs.
The issue of racial profiling is a challenging one that has been made all the more controversial with the war on terrorism and the concept of terrorist profiling. Much of the research on racial profiling however, even that research which demonstrates unequivocal opposition to the concept, indicates that it is nevertheless "an ineradicable part of human life". In fact, Lund (2003) maintains that racial profiling is something that everyone has done at some point or another at least once during their life time
Addressing the issue of racial profiling as an activity confined merely to the identification and suspicion of criminals would be somewhat inaccurate, an assertion that is supported by the fact that the term criminal is a rather harsh term that excludes individuals suspected of less serious offenses than those associated with criminals. For the purpose of the present research therefore, racial profiling will be considered an activity that involves the identification and suspicion of law breakers in general, which includes not only those individuals who might be suspected for an offense as serious as drug trafficking but also those individuals who might be suspected for an offense as minor as trespassing.
Racial profiling has become one of the most controversial issues in law enforcement, with identifiable evidence to support a more thorough examination of its value and legitimacy in American society today. Without a doubt, racial profiling has its opponents. A search of the literature reveals a number of studies designed to confirm that police officers are more likely to view minorities or people of color with suspicion of law breaking. A primary example is the Wichita Stop Study, which was designed to identify whether or not differential enforcement patterns existed based on race or ethnicity in the enforcement practices of the Wichita Kansas police departments.