Sociology – Essay Example
Client Race: A Fallacy of Logic The question of whether African-American and Hispanic ‘racial’ types should be allowably profiled by law enforcement officials is a question that is sociologically and anthropologically incorrect to ask. In a study done by New Jersey under the supervision of Dr. John Lamberth of Temple University in 1994, “while African American drivers and Caucasian drivers committed roughly the same percentage of traffic violations, a startling statistic of 73.25 of the drivers stopped were African American drivers, while only 13.5% were of a different race.”(Harris) This inequality shows a consistent intent to persecute by skin color.
In 1993 a Maryland lawsuit named the police department as a defendant against Robert Wilkins, a Harvard Law student who felt that when the police stopped he and his family, searched them, and brought in drug sniffing dogs that it had been done due to his race. His point was proven “when a State Police memo surfaced during discovery instructing troopers to look for drug couriers who were described as "predominantly black males and black females,". (Harris) The use of racial profiling has created an atmosphere of hostility towards law enforcement within the African American community. Security becomes less stable when it has been made clear that one can do nothing other than wear
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a color skin in order to be subject to interruption of daily responsibilities.
The issue then becomes a question that asks if the higher incidents of arrest and prosecution of those with darker skin colors isn’t more relevant to the increased use of racial profiling by law enforcement rather than an actual increase of crime by people who are categorized this way. As well, the idea that ethnic origin is a basis for profiling insinuates that more often than not someone of a particular ethnicity would be responsible for an act of terrorism, while statistically most of the domestic terrorist acts on American soil were committed by Americans. The Columbine shooting, the Oklahoma bombing in 1995 of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the Tacoma Mall Shooting of 2008, all were done by none Arab attackers.
Furthermore, the issue of race has been denied validity by the anthropological community and should be obliterated as a way of categorizing and defining individuals. Ethnicity can be defined by geography, cultural identity, and a similarity of root origin that is without reference to skin color. Race is a social construct that cannot be quantified and has been denounced as an unscientific means of categorization. Therefore, the idea that skin color is relevant to social disorder is a false logic.
The idea the racial profiling can save time for law enforcement also represents a false logic. If race cannot be quantified and therefore cannot have scientific relevance, then race cannot be used as a determining factor for any investigative approach. As well, to lump an entire group into a criminal category increases the necessity of further reducing a group and will distract agencies from pursuing true leads when presented with
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leads built on prejudicial artifice. Racial profiling makes no sense on any level.
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Harris, David A. 1999. “The Statistical Analysis: The Stories, The Statistic, and The
Law: Why "Driving While Black" Matters”. Race, Racism and the Law Speaking
Truth to Power!!. 84 Minnesota Law Review 265-326 (1999). The University of
Dayton School of Law. 28 October 2008.