Racial Profiling and The Use of Deadly Force
Racial profiling as well as the use of deadly force have really given our nation something to talk about, whether it be a causal political conversation with a neighbor or a worldwide news post with millions of comments about a helpless ethnic individual that was gunned down unnecessarily by a law enforcement officer for simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The way that our nation views racial profiling and deadly force is much different than the way those involved in our criminal justice system view the issue. Although the views may be conflicted it is an issue that will continue to grow if our country does not put in the effort to make it go away. There is no such thing as racial profiling, there is simply racism.
Racial profiling is a growing issue that seems to have created quite the topic for talk in our nations media outlets. This issue is factually defined as an issue that occurs when a group of people or individual selectively focus on a persons race or ethnicity, and then proceed to harass, detain, or follow the individual. There are some that portray racial profiling as targeted policing efforts against minority groups while another side views the issue is merely that, an issue, an issue that our nation has within the last ten years had to look for ways to eliminate after thinking the issue was terminated after Jim Crow laws. Our nations law enforcement system exists merely to create safety for the citizens of the nation. Without this system the world world have no structural community safety organization. As much as as a massive majority of the world wants to believe that racism is an issue of the past, it is still very much so a current growing problem in todays world. Although our law enforcement system is supposed to remain completely unbiased and never base arrests or decision of criminal punishment on assumption that one race is superior of the other, it happens more often than it should. This does not make the entire system corrupt, just the individual committing such act. Those who act in the dark of racial profiling need to be held accountable for their actions. Not only does racial profiling affect our criminal justice system, it also affects the people in our communities. News media and entertainment are compelling forces in creating negative cultural and ethnic stereotypes. Due to the image that media has constituted about those of an ethnic background, our communities are beginning to fear those of color. Racism is slowly expanding more and more into our country and becoming a problem that we will soon not be able to control.
Excessive or deadly force and racial profiling by police officers is completely unconstitutional, yet it is still happening. These matters often end in tragic results. There have been innumerable instances in which police have used deadly force against minorities or those of a different ethnic background when it was completely unacceptable to do so. Individuals have been beaten, murdered, and robbed of their freedom and families due simply to the fact that they were in the wrong place at the wrong time and the color of their skin. In an article titled,” Skin Deep; Minorities Seek Relief From Racial Profiling”, Rebecca Porter includes, “For years, civil rights advocates have been collecting complaints from minority citizens who feel they have been singled out to be stopped and searched by police on the streets and by employees and customs agents in airports”(p.1). This statement alone displays the need for our country to pull together and put a stop to this outstanding affair. Hundreds of colored families are affected by this debilitated problem. Imagine having to worry about your son or husband getting gunned down or beaten by someone who is supposed to protect them just because the way they were walking looked a little suspicious. Not only does this affect the families but this issue has also destroyed public trust in police. Where does one turn when they cannot turn to the one organization that is supposed to protect them in a time of need. Law enforcement leaders need to step up and ensure that situations such as the Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and Trayvon Martin instances absolutely do not happen again. Racial profiling does not stop in the streets, it occurs in airports as well as other public places like grocery stores, gas stations, amusement parks. Hundreds of racially targeted searches are completed each year in busy airports. Colored men and women are singled out with the assumption that they are smuggling illegal materials or drugs.
The people that live in this country are what keep it going the most. Whether we feel like it we all play a very important role in keeping our nations organizational law system going correctly. This is extremely hard to do when one is living in fear every moment of their life. To those who have never experienced the inconvenience of racial profiling it may seem to be a small topic that does not matter. The victims of this hate crime pay for it emotionally, physically, mentally, and in some cases, financially. Seeing as this has become such a huge issue, it is affecting the success of our children, the ones that will soon run this world. How are we supposed to have successful and happy children when the world is full of damage and hatred. Our education system is beginning to feel the affects of racial profiling within schools and after school programs, this leads to bullying, which can then lead to psychological issues later on in life. It is similar to the facts stated above, although racial profiling is unconstitutional, some officers do it anyways. Although there is a zero-tolerance policy in 90% of schools, racism still occurs on a day to day basis. Imagine how defeating it is for our colored children to go to school and find out that they are not accepted by the other children due to the color of their skin. The problem starts at home, we should be teaching our children that everyone is equal, no matter their color, the shoes on their feet, the clothes they wear, or where they live. We are all the same biologically.Social media plays a huge role in racism in schools, it is a developing issue that will only get worse in the years to come if we do not stop it. Children are seeing racism on their social media accounts and are looking at it more along the lines of a joke than a crime. When these children return to school and use these jokes they are affecting the lives of many other children in negative ways. A majority of these kids are afraid to speak up and let someone know these things are happening in our schools. In the text, “Policing” by John Worrall and Frank Schmalleger, the following is included, “They defined police crime as an “officer’s use of the official powers of his or her job to engage in criminal conduct” (p.206) This factual statement is just one of many examples of laws that an officer breaks while acting in racial profiling. It can also be seen as corruption, or abuse of authority, none of which are legal.
There are many ways one can begin to put a stop to racial profiling. The legal or law enforcement system can start by trying to be more like a protector instead of a warrior to help gain back the trust of the public. More wellness or safety programs need to be established within policing and enforced greatly to ensure that they are following all policies and rules to keep both themselves and the public safe. Better training programs could also help to put a stop to this controversy. It is important to remember that blacks are not the only race targeted by racial profiling, Hispanics, Arabs, and Muslims have also become major targets to this crime. In an article titled, “Racial Profiling and The War on Terror:Changing Trends and Perspectives”, Abu B. Bah includes, “ Prior to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the United States, blacks were the main victims of racial profiling. Since the terrorist attack, however, Arabs and Muslims are becoming the primary targets for profiling by law enforcement agencies”(p.1). Due to this awful attack it seems as if the country has decided to target the race that committed the attack, this is completely unreasonable seeing as it was two individuals not all of the race that committed the act. Racial profiling has fueled the fire for many political and constitutional debates, especially involving the fourth amendment rights of our citizens. The fourth amendment guarantees the right for people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures. This is a prime example of how we are taking the rights away from those of ethnicity by profiling or targeting them and proceeding to go through their properties under the assumption that they are committing a crime without any solid evidence.
One of the biggest issues we face as a country is the lack of coming together to make this world a safe and happy place. There are innumerable issues that destroy the morals and or a character of our citizens. It is time that we looked away from our phones, tv screens, and computers and saw these people for exactly who they are: mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, they are human just as we are and if treated correctly they will make a huge difference in this nation. Accountability is a factor that we could really work on in this country, those who believe that racial profiling is okay should be punished through the criminal justice system just as other law offenders have. Racial profiling is a human rights violation. In order for our justice system to work properly it depends on the equal treatment of our citizens, and basing investigations on evidence not bias or stereotypes. It is important that our criminal justice system lives up to the constitutional standards it was built on.
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