Racial profiling is the use of one’s race, religion or ethnicity by the police before deciding to enforce the law for a criminal offence in a given country (Siggins, 2002). Not all countries practice racial profiling, but some nations consider it legal. The U.S had forbidden racial profiling after being declared as a wrongful act by the former President George W. Bush in 2001.
However, the threat of homeland security has justified the use of racial profiling especially after the attack on 9/11/01 and the bombing of Pearl Harbor in Hawaii by the Japanese in 1941 (Siggins, 2002). Border Patrol agents and Customs have made the Muslims’ entry into the U.S. more difficult due to terror threats since these communities are associated with terrorist acts (Haddad, 2002).
What actually happened
One of my classmates, a Muslim student, was checked while we were travelling together by an airline agent who questioned him many things before finally issuing a ticket. On asking why they did that, the airline ticketing agents said that they had been instructed to check for any suspicious information before issuing any tickets.
The immigration authorities in the U.S have used violent and discriminatory policies that are racial profile-based to reduce crime rates for example on Muslim communities (Haddad, 2002). The arrests made by the FBI and INS are basically Arabs or noncitizens whom are the majority suspected for the crimes. The government has imposed more restrictions on immigration laws requiring finger prints and photographing of people from the Middle East.
Racial profiling in the workplace
The affects of racial profiling include discrimination in employment for certain ethnic groups, being stopped over by the police for minor traffic offences and too much inquiry into one’s personal information by the police. On the streets the police officers ‘stop and frisk’ the pedestrians especially the non citizens most of the times.
Equality rights of the Muslims have been adversely affected as they have been targeted on stereotypes and subjected to differential treatment at all times hence putting them at a greater risk (Siggins, 2002). The Patriot Act has allowed the U.S attorney general to hold suspects who threatens the national security even without any reasonable grounds. This has emotionally affected the American minorities who fear driving or living in other areas.
The fight against racial profiling may not succeed as long as there is a threat to national security. The minority groups shall remain to be the main targets of this injustice.
Haddad, W. (2002, Dec 04). “Impact of the September 11th Attacks on the Freedoms of Muslims and Arabs.” Retrieved from http://www.arabbar.org/art-sept11impact.asp
Siggins, P. (2002, May 12). “Racial Profiling in an Age of Terrorism.” Retrieved from http://www.scu.edu/ ethics/publications/ethicalperspectives/profiling.html
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