Junyong Kim Professor Natalie Oliveri ENG 112 10/13/2010 Racial profiling Final draft “Should the U.
S government use racial profiling in the war against terrorism? ” In today’s society, the issue of terrorism is not just a concern for some countries such as America or some Arabic countries but for all countries, and it is becoming more important that protecting own country from terrorism. Everyone probably remember the September 11 terror, which is one of the biggest attacks in recent few decades. Because of that the U.S government pays more attention to protect the country from terrorist attacks. In the process of preventing terrorism, the U. S. government focuses more on Arabic people, who committed the 9/11 attack, to find terrorists than other types of people.
Some people strenuously insist that racial profiling is necessary to find and catch terrorists. However, it is not essential to prevent terrorism because racial profiling has uncertainty in it, and there are more important characteristics that should be considered to find terrorists.Moreover, the racial profiling is violation of the individual’s right which has to be protected even if somehow the racial profiling works. Some people strongly support the idea of racial profiling and insist that it is effective and helpful to anti-terrorism. They believe that some tactics are not really racial profiling. The search for specific suspects is not racial profiling, but the search for people who belong to a general category is profiling (Clegg, Profiling Terrorist).In other words, it is not a problem if the police set standards to classify among terrorists’ characteristics including ethnic group, religion or age and apply those specific elements to find terrorists. John Ibbitson says the racial profiling is both necessary and desirable (“Why racial profiling is a good idea”).
On the day of the 9/11 attacks, the guy whose name is strange and has dark skin persisted in taking flying lessons would have excited police suspicions. However, if a middle-aged European woman instead of the guy said hat, it wouldn’t have been suspicious and police wouldn’t have taken it seriously. In “When Profiling Makes Sense,” Jonah Goldberg says the author compares racial profiling to a slot machine game: if everyone knew that one slot machine paid out 10 percent more often than any other, the line for that slot machine would be a lot longer than all the others – and not just 10 percent longer – because 10 percent is a very significant advantage. In other words, all Middle Easterners aren’t terrorists, but many terrorists in question are from the Middle East. That is why racial profiling is acceptable.However, racial profiling is not always certain and could lead to undesirable consequences.
The author of “Profiles in Injustice: Why Racial Profiling Cannot Work” is against racial profiling and says that when police use ethnic appearance as a factor in law enforcement, their accuracy in catching criminals decreases, such as the fatal shooting by London police of an innocent Brazilian man after the bombings. In other words, when racial profiling is used, it could simply eliminate the other possible characteristics like strange behavior or suspicious words. The police would miss the chance to catch real suspects.
Another example is “hit rates,” which is the percentage of stops in which the police found something that led to an arrest. The number of hits in general was very low because they focused on appearance when they should be focusing on others such as behavior or the way of speaking. The result is not positive, and we can simply see that racial profiling is not suitable. In order to eradicate terrorism, all the people who are working to protect their country should focus on important characteristics of terrorists rather than their ethnic group or how they look like.
In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, some people went into a furious and wasteful effort to improve airline gate security. The U. S. government put much more money to reinforce security in the airport such as more guards are ready for any type of terrorism attacks, classified and strict process of passing through gates are built or more accurate and well- developed machines. The government also paid attention to look at the people from Middle East. However, what the government has done was useless, and there were plenty of signs that had to e focused on: the suspects paid cash for one way ticket, had no luggage and were recently denied a visa to Britain. There was a positive clue that should be concerned, but people only thought about less important thing so that they missed a chance to catch the suspect.
The serious problem of racial profiling is that it is a violation of the individual’s right. The fourth amendment guarantees individual’s right from unreasonable searches and seizures. In “Privacy Rights are at Issue in New Policy on Security,” Robert F.
Worth says New York police began randomly searching bags at protests after the 9/11 attack. However, the New York Civil Liberties Union challenged the practice, and last summer a federal judge in Manhattan declared it unconstitutional. If people from the Middle East are under investigation for terrorism because of their ethnic group, religion, or race, it is clear that that investigation is a violation of the fourth amendment. Moreover, there is the risk that innocent people will be suspected and harassed when racial profiling is applied. In conclusion, the U.
S. government shouldn’t use racial profiling in the war against terrorism. Using racial profiling to prevent terrorism is not certain all the time and it might cause unwanted results. The police should focus on a variety of terrorists’ characteristics, not their ethnic group or appearance. The racial profiling is a violation of the individual’s right because it ignores individual’s right during the process of finding clue of suspects. The issue of terrorism is a very serious problem, but it doesn’t mean racial profiling has to be applied.