There are many forms of racism that cause people to make accusations against law enforcement in America. One of the forms that most people are pushing towards is racial profiling. The definition of profiling specifically as defined in Merriam-Webster Dictionary is “the act of suspecting or targeting a person on the basis of observed characteristics or behavior.” In this country, You are more likely to be stopped, searched, arrested, or imprisoned if you are a minority. Discriminatory police stops have reached great heights in recent years, and while the media tends to cover police racial profiling they have failed to recognize their own practice of media racial profiling.
One of the examples of racial profiling is the constant ridicule that followed Arab and Muslim Americans after September 11th terrorist attacks which included the detention on any minor immigrant violations, the intense scrutiny at airports and other locations. Often the law enforcement officers’ actions are based on race, ethnicity, religion in combination with the alleged violation of law. In such cases the understanding of racial profiling becomes wider and eliminates the majority of racial profiling situations from occurring. Although racial profiling is most frequently connected with traffic stops, it also deals with any situation when minorities were stopped, interrogated or searched because of their race, ethnicity, or religion.
Setting prejudice aside, once a law enforcement officer knows that racial differences in propensity to crime exist it may be hard if not impossible to ignore them when estimating the probability that a person is an offender. A law enforcement officer should always have an objectively reasonable suspicion that the person is guilty in an offense before making any assumptions of crimes based only on race. In practice it is often very difficult for a law enforcement officer to define what a reasonable suspicion really is. For that reason alone, that is what causes many cases of racial profiling cases to take place. Even if the exercise of law enforcement discretion was subconsciously racist, it is considered unreasonable and the end result of that will be a racial profiling finding.
In conclusion, the ways of controlling racial profiling in law enforcement can be expressed in various organizational initiatives. One way of trying to change the narrative of racial profiling in policing is educating law enforcement officials concerning the effects of racial profiling usage. Another way to combat the issue of racial profiling is holding special trainings with practical issues discussions and reproduction of the most problematic situations, and monitoring data on racial profiling decisions and actions that deal with the problem. The quality of policing could be improved by external political and social pressure. The proper level of publicity, as well as the required internal reforms, can possibly be the key to ensure that law enforcement practices are scrutinized and that the social and political pressure for change is escalated. With help from the community, our community leaders, along with members of the law enforcement community we can make strides to change policing for the better and change the perception that every police action is based on race.