Racial profiling in law enforcement

Subject: Sociology
Type: Informative Essay
Pages: 3
Word count: 555
Topics: Government, Law Enforcement, Racial Profiling, Racism


Racial profiling is a controversial political topic involving the discriminatory practice by law enforcement officials specializing in crime control and prevention based on race, ethnicity, and religion. Case analysis by Borooah (2001, p.296) reveals that the sources of discrimination may be based on belief, which sometimes is never justified. It has blurred public confidence in law enforcement. Therefore, the premium goal of this essay is to describe the place of racial profiling in law enforcement and how it influences the law system.

Place of Racial Profiling in Law Enforcement

Research has it on paper that nonwhites are more often stopped than whites. According to Rudovsky (201, p.296), most blacks believed they had been stopped because of color affiliations. It is argued what the police carry out during traffic stops is as essential as the reason itself. One of the victims of this unethical practice recalls being stopped for no reason and recording statements with the Chicago police that were never worked on (Ortiz & Lehren, 2019). The encounter by Jackson highlights the plight of people of color who suffer harassment in the name of mandatory stops and searches. It is no longer an idea of an officer being friendly but using racial profiling to execute individual and political interests by use of fear.

Inequality and misuse of power aren’t only evident in the streets while patrolling but while mapping out areas labeled as criminal hotspots. The blanket of racial profiling while geographically mapping areas dominated by crime extends excessive autonomy to the police. It is right for those who perceive racial profiling as a tool for counter-terrorism (Banks, 2003, p.1201). When surveillance is increased in areas inhabited by low-income earners, the assumption that they may be criminals shifts the role of police in ensuring public safety. We live in a democratic country, and when police officers are granted autonomy by their administrators to focus patrols making arrests on mere suspicions, we are stumbling on public confidence (Cunneen, 2006, p.329-396).

How Racial Profiling Influences Law System

Race matters in our criminal justice system because it was imposed after the civil law to control African Americans. Therefore, racial disparities in the criminal justice system are no accident because they are rooted in a history of discrimination and oppressive decisions that targeted black people because of an inaccurate picture of crime. Across the United States, several policies have differential effects and shape the police departments. The answer to the role of race in law enforcement is right at the start of recruitment processes (Quinlan, 2021, p.295). When conducting geographical mapping of crime, the race has been an ingredient of the whole procedure.


What is clear from the above discussion is that race is a consistent predictor of citizens’ attitudes towards the police. A lot can be drawn from incidents where blacks are stopped on mere grounds of suspicion and the tainting history of their criminal appearance. While it can be a helpful paradigm in fighting terrorism and policing decisions with the law system, the effects spill over to the average citizen. The police as not making clear the actions undertaken during racial arrests and patrols. Instead, emphasis is placed on the reasons for the undertakings. It is a wake-up call for stakeholders to recognize the nature of democratic America and how the actions of law enforcers based on race are a spoiler.

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  1. Banks, R. R. (2003). Racial profiling and antiterrorism efforts. Cornell L. Rev.89, 1201.
  2. Borooah, V. K. (2001). Racial bias in police stops and searches: an economic analysis. European Journal of Political Economy, 17(1), 17–37. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0176-2680(00)00026-4
  3. Cunneen, C. (2006). Racism, Discrimination and the Over-Representation of Indigenous People in the Criminal Justice System: Some Conceptual and Explanatory Issues. Current Issues in Criminal Justice, 17(3), 329–346. https://doi.org/10.1080/10345329.2006.12036363
  4. Glover, K. S. (2007). Police Discourse on Racial Profiling. Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, 23(3), 239–247. https://doi.org/10.1177/1043986207306866
  5. Ortiz, E., & Lehren, A. W. (2019, March 13). Inside 100 million police traffic stops: New evidence of racial bias. NBC News. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/inside-100-million-police-traffic-stops-new-evidence-racial-bias-n980556
  6. Rudovsky, D. (2001). Law enforcement by stereotypes and serendipity: Racial profiling and stops and searches without cause. U. Pa. J. Const. L.3, 296.
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