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Social institutions like education, medical care, media, jobs etc., are all affected by the practice of racial discrimination. One such institution that is attracting heavy attention from media, people and the government, due to its practice of racial discrimination, is the institution of police department and security services. In the recent years, people from minority ethnic groups have become easy target of police officials and experience ridicule, insults and unnecessary police action through the method of racial profiling. At the same time, there are many instances where many lives were saved due to arrest of terrorists with the help of racial profiling. Ahmed Ressam, a terrorist trained under Al Qaeda, was arrested when he was stopped with the help of racial profiling and suspicious behavior. However, the debate over racial profiling has intensified as people who are target of racial profiling, and those who are target of attacks from terrorist from Arab and Middle Eastern countries, both want to feel safe in their own country. Hence, to gain trust from people and to remove their hatred for police officials, the only solution for the police department is to change the formats and rules of racial profiling, and provide intense and extensive training to the officials on profiling a person not only on the basis of racial cues, but also on the basis of his behavior and body language. Definition Racial profiling is defined as a “practice of targeting individuals for police or security interdiction, detention, or other disparate treatment based primarily on their race or ethnicity, in the belief that certain minority groups are more likely to engage in unlawful behavior” (Laney 1). The definition clearly points out that the race of a person is the major factor in the method of racial profiling. However, it is not completely true. According to a broader definition, racial profiling is a method that police officers use to question someone on the basis of cues he gets from different factors like his age, body language, style of dressing, time of the day, behavior etc., along with the race of a person (Kops 9). The broader definition shows that race is not the only factor in racial profiling. Moreover, it is important to note that ‘profiling’ is not done only by police officials, but is a part of human observation pattern and hence, even common public do the racial profiling without knowing that they are doing it (Heumann and Cassak 10). This shows that racial profiling is not learnt through training but has its roots in human psychology. The Roots Of Racial Profiling Racial profiling is not just a random method that has cropped up without any reason. There is a valid reason for the use of technique like racial profiling by police officers. The investigation methods used by police officers depend a lot on the history of crime and their experience in criminal investigations (Heumann and Cassak 10). The decisions of policemen are based on the on-job experience, different personality factors, and the repeatedly observed associations between certain crimes and people related to certain ethnic and racial background (Heumann and Cassak 35). Moreover, the beliefs that people of minority group are more involved in criminal activities also drive police officers to feel a ‘hunch,’ against them, and suspect them, more than suspect people from the majority group (Heumann and Cassak 35). However, there is a reason for police officials and security people to feel ‘
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The practice has raised so many controversies and has been a subject of many heated debates in the recent past. Many countries do not support the idea saying it is a bad practice. In my view the practice is bad and should not be tolerated. It only amounts to discrimination which is a bad thing in the society.
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