The impact of racial profiling has been seen to be awfully disastrous to communities
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In the wake of President Obama’s first term election, many were quick to say that America was moving into what they call a “Post-Racial America”. This is simply not true. The effects of racial inequity, racial profiling and discrimination are still very present, even more so we see that society is beginning to backslide and communities are no further advanced in a positive post-racial era than before President Obama took office. Today we turn on the news and see tragic stories of young and old black men and women’s lives being taken too soon because they “fit” the profile. The reality is in America, racism and racial anxiety still exist on a heavy spectrum, they “fit” the description or look suspicious and scary, because society has ingrained in us that black men or people of color, in general, are thugs, deviants, are up to no good and will just start shooting if white folks are in their neighborhood. This discussion post will shed light on racial profiling, the constitutionality of racial profiling and the impact such policies may have on communities.
There isn’t any situation in which racial profiling should be legal, but it happens every day in cities and towns across the country, when law enforcement and private security target people of color for humiliating and often frightening detentions, interrogations, and searches without evidence of criminal activity and based on perceived race, ethnicity, national origin, or religion (ACLU.org, 2019). The 4th Amendment that is supposed to be in place to safeguard folks from illegal search and seizure was blatantly disregarded when the Supreme Court made its first ruling to sanction racial profiling. In Terry vs. Ohio police officers were given broader discretion with whom they may stop by the initiation of the “stop and frisk” ruling, meaning that if the officer believes there is reasonable suspicion, then the 4th Amendment safeguard no longer applies (Olsen, 2017). While it is seemingly reasonable for a law enforcement officer to stop someone if they feel that there is something suspicious, the use of this loosely written law leaves too much open for interpretation, even if it pertains to a motor vehicle stop, what is the actual cause of the stop? Is the officer being honest in their interpretation of why the stop took place? Lastly, during a traffic stop to assume guilt also takes away the innocent until proven guilty factor. Just because you “look” guilty doesn’t mean you are.
The impact of racial profiling has been seen to be awfully disastrous to communities all across the country. What is important to note is racial profiling is ineffective. It alienates communities from law enforcement, hinders community policing efforts, and causes law enforcement to lose credibility and trust among the people they are sworn to protect and serve (ACLU.org, 2019). Not to mention the fact that rulings like Terry v. Ohio, United States v. Brignoni-Ponce and Whren v. United States make it difficult, to darn near impossible to rely on the police for protection and promote fairness and justice in our communities (Olsen, 2017). Racial profiling has led countless people to live in fear, casting entire communities as suspect simply because of what they look like, where they come from, or what religion they adhere to (ACLU.org, 2019).
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