50 years removed from the Civil Rights campaign of the 1960’s, The United States of America is trudging down a destructive, immoral path that allows for sanctioned racism. Racial profiling is an unsuccessful, distracting, and unethical policy that violates every human being’s right to equality.
First, the preconceived notion that there is an astronomical gap between drug use in the blacks and whites – a common idea that proponents of racial profiling base their opinions on – is not based in reality. In fact, the US government’s own Department of Health Service found that around 70% of drug users are white, 15% are black, and 8% are Latino. While these statistics alone may be enough to shake the fabric on the clothes worn by racial-profiling supporters, the misconceptions do not end there.
The Department of Justice reported that the number of people imprisoned on drug charges differed greatly with the above numbers: 26% are white, 21% are Latino, and an alarming 45% are black. So the true reality of racial profiling is that it does not help to catch a greater number of the total drug offenders, it helps in catching a greater number of the black drug offenders.
Not only does racial profiling cause disproportionate, race-based arrests in regards to drug use, but it also is a failed policy that lends itself to distractions. A 2005 study by then Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon found that Caucasian individuals, who were pulled over because of suspicious behavior, had some type of illegal material 24 % of the time, while African American drivers who were pulled over in a profiling style had illegal material 19% of the time. So, by this study, racial profiling does not heighten law enforcement’s ability to do their job – it actually inhibits it.
As Jasmine Elliott, a writer for the American Civil Liberties Union website, wrote in a 2010 article, “Racial profiling is an abusive practice that targets innocent citizens solely because of the way that they look [and] research shows that racial profiling diverts officers’ attention from using actual, objective signs of suspicious behavior to effectively assess situations.”
Lastly, racial profiling is immoral, and it is a flagrant violation of the 14th Amendment which dictates no state may “deny any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” If people are subjected to certain laws and policies because of their skin color while others with opposite skin colors are not, then we are simply not treating everyone in the country with equal protection and equal jurisdiction.
Tom Head, a civil liberties expert, wrote, “Racial profiling is Jim Crow applied as a law enforcement policy. It promotes the internal segregation of suspects within the minds of police officers, and it creates a second-class citizenship for black and Latino Americans.” Arbitrarily employing a policy that allows for checking up on someone solely on the basis of what they look like is an unsuccessful and immoral distraction that threatens the rights of minorities in the United States.