Racial Profiling

Racial profiling is defined as “the use of race or ethnicity as grounds for suspecting someone of having committed an offense.” For the purpose of this article, I will be discussing the phenomenon of Middle Eastern travelers being checked (“randomly”)  more frequently than other travelers and whether or not this should happen.

Proponents of racial profiling (many believe the U.S government to be one of these, but that is to be discussed at another time and is irrelevant right now) believe that it is worth it to discriminate against groups that are statistically more likely to commit acts of terrorism. Those against racial profiling believe that doing so is discriminatory (possibly even racist, by some definitions) and thus wrong. There are a few other disagreements muddling the debate: Are Arabs really more likely to commit terrorist acts? Should the government be searching anybody? Does the practice of searching travelers at airports actually cut down on terrorism?

Essentially, though, (if facts can be agreed upon and statistics shown),  the disagreement is this: Is it appropriate to discriminate against certain groups of people if there is statistical evidence for them being more likely to do something harmful and illegal?


One thought on “Racial Profiling”

  1. The stasis that you identify at the end is really strong. It really gets at the heart of the issue. However, I disagree with some of your language in the second paragraph. You use the word “discriminate” for both sides. You say that pro-profiling advocates believe it is good to discriminate, but you also say that anti-profiling supporters believe it is “discriminatory… and thus wrong.” This double use of the word is very confusing when it comes to stasis, because it seems like the stasis is that neither side understands what the other one means by the word “discrimination.” Additionally, it seems like you believe discrimination is inherently wrong, which means that using that word for the pro-profiling side shows bias against them. At best, you are certainly inspiring bias in your audience against profiling because “discrimination” is a loaded word. We are having a difference in logic here. I disagree that pro-profiling advocates think it is “discrimination” because they believe it is an objective safety procedure.


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