Racial and Bias Profiling Essay
Racial and Bias Profiling Essay

Racial and Bias Profiling Essay

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  • Pages: 5 (1182 words)
  • Published: December 25, 2021
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Racial and bias profiling refers to the act of targeting or suspecting individuals based on preconceived beliefs about their race. In the context of law enforcement, this occurs when officers opt to detain, interrogate, investigate, or apprehend someone exclusively due to their racial or ethnic background. When an officer's decision is solely influenced by race or ethnicity, it is known as "racial profiling." Conversely, if an officer's decision is not influenced by race or ethnicity, it is categorized as non-racial policing ("Racial Disparities in the American Criminal Justice System", 2016).

Law enforcement officers aim to apprehend and detain suspects without harboring any prejudiced thoughts or assumptions about them. The act of racial profiling by police in the United States has its roots in the era of slavery, when authorities in a Philadelphia court gave police officers the power to stop any black individual,


regardless of their enslavement status, if they were observed lingering or purposefully walking on the streets. This unjust treatment persisted during the Jim Crow period and remains prevalent in numerous cities throughout America ("Racial Disparities in the American Criminal Justice System", 2016).

Racial profiling is a common occurrence in the United States, manifesting in different ways. It involves law enforcement using a person's race to decide whether to make traffic stops for minor infractions. Hispanics and Latinos are often singled out because of immigration issues, while black gangs are frequently targeted. Moreover, individuals of Chinese descent may face profiling due to suspicions related to espionage.

According to Bret and Michael T. (2009), racial profiling is a common occurrence for individuals from Arab, Muslim, and South Asian backgrounds due to their perceived association with terrorist attacks.

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Dugger (2016) highlighted a Department of Justice report on the Ferguson police department in Missouri that exposed significant racial profiling. The report discovered that officers in Ferguson were guilty of using excessive force against the African American community. Despite African American drivers having lower chances of possessing illegal substances compared to White drivers, they were more likely to be stopped and searched. Moreover, the report disclosed that cases involving the black community had a 65% lower likelihood of being dismissed compared to other races and were more prone to lead to arrest warrants (Tucker, 2015). Tucker (2015) further noted that the report also revealed an imbalance in incarceration rates: only 5% of those incarcerated for over two days were white while 95% were black. The Department of Justice conducted this research after weeks of protests following an incident where a white police officer killed an unarmed 18-year-old black individual.

According to records, the black community is involved in 88% of cases when police officers use force. It is surprising that all 14 incidents in which individuals were bitten by canine dogs specifically involved African Americans. Furthermore, African Americans account for 95% of charges related to walking on the roadway. Despite the civil rights movement's abolishment of Jim Crow laws in the United States, racial profiling and brutality against minority citizens, including blacks and Hispanics, persist. This creates a dangerous and risky situation for minority groups during travel. Both innocent and guilty individuals within these communities are affected by unjust treatment and charges resulting from racial bias.

In the United States, it is observed that the police often detain minority populations for longer periods of time compared to

white communities, reinforcing racial and bias profiling in prisons (Mullainathan, 2015). This stereotype contributes to increased arrests as police officers target suspects from minority populations with suspicion, resulting in their conviction and imprisonment (Dugger, 2016). However, there have been efforts to address this issue through the implementation of rules and acts that combat racial profiling and punish officers who make judgments based on race or ethnicity. Police departments nationwide have also implemented policies to reduce racial and biased profiling on the streets.

The text highlights the significance of implementing measures to handle different situations and suspects without any racial or ethnic discrimination. As per (Green Carmichael, 2015), the New Orleans Police Department has established policies to address biased policing. These policies are documented in a manual to ensure that all police department staff refrain from engaging in biased or racially influenced policing towards the people of New Orleans. The policy explicitly states that factors such as color, race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, cultural background, or disability should not have an impact on law enforcement services.

The policy emphasizes the importance of treating all individuals equally and opposing any form of discrimination. It strictly prohibits discriminatory policing and profiling based on race or bias. However, it recognizes that certain factors like race, age, gender, and ethnicity may be used to describe a suspect. The police strongly encourage employees to report any incidents of racial or bias profiling within the justice system. The Police department welcomes reports from the public regarding alleged profiling by staff members and guarantees protection against intimidation or threats for filing such reports (Discriminatory Policing/Bias-Based Profiling, 2013).

To address this issue, police officers now receive training on

discriminatory policing and racial/biased profiling as mandated by the Education and Training division responsible for officer training. Trainees are also required to watch a video produced by the Public Safety and Corrections Department which focuses on racial/bias profiling. This mandatory training has proven effective in reducing instances of racial/bias profiling and minimizing judgments based on race/ethnicity (Green Carmichael, 2015).

I believe that racial and bias profiling impact the enforcement of laws by police. The race of suspects influences the decisions made by police, with minority populations frequently being linked to a majority of crimes in the United States. Although attempts have been made to tackle racial and bias profiling, there is still more for police departments to accomplish. Nevertheless, progress has been achieved as all police officers now undergo mandatory training on discriminatory policies and racial and bias profiling.


  1. Discriminatory Policing/Bias-Based Profiling. (2013) (1st ed., pp. 1-6). Aliso Viejo. Retrieved from http://www.youthbreakout.org/sites/g/files/g189161/f/201307/Policy%20402%20-%20PR402%20-%20Discriminatory%20Policing%20-%20Racial%20Bias-Based%20Profiling.pdf
  2. Dugger, A. (2016). Racial Profiling & Biased Policing: Definition & Impact. Presentation, Study.com.
  3. Green Carmichael, S. (2015). Training Police Departments to Be Less Biased. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2015/03/training-police-departments-to-be-less-biased
  4. Loimo, R., Leslie A, M., Rachel S., T., J.

Bret, B., and Michael T. (2009) conducted a study on The Citizens’ Views on Biased Policing. The article is available on Kaplan.Edu and was published in Volume 3, Issue 1 of the journal. The full document can be retrieved from https://kucampus.kaplan.edu/documentstore/docs09/pdf/picj/vol3/issue1/the_citizens_views_on_biased_policing_vol3_1.pdf.

  • Mullainathan, S.
  • (2015). The New York Times article titled "Here Is What the Data Say About Police Killings of Blacks" discusses racial disparities in the American Criminal Justice System. The article can be found on page BU6 and retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/18/upshot/police-killings-of-blacks-what-the-data-says.html?_r=0

    (2016). Justice On Trial, 1-60. Retrieved from http://www.civilrights.org/publications/justice-on-trial/?referrer=https://www.google.com/

    Tucker, E.

    (2015). 7 clear ways Ferguson police violated the Constitution, according to DOJ. PBS News Hour. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/7-clear-ways-ferguson-police-violated-the-constitution-according-to-the-justice-department/

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