Racial profiling of African American males in New York

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Abstract

Racial profiling is a common offense that is committed by the law enforcers against the African-American males in the United States. Racial profiling refers to the act of using race to determine the criminality of a person by the law enforcers. Studies have revealed that the African-American males are more likely to be incarcerated or questioned by police officers than white Americans. This study investigates the racial profiling of African-American males in New York City. Specifically, the study aims to identify the main reasons for racial profiling. Also, this research seeks to determine the justice system’s view on the offense and to investigate the impacts of racial profiling

Introduction

Most African-American males living in the United States and drive vehicles or use the public means of transport have been victims of racial profiling by the law enforcement officers. It may occur knowingly or unknowingly when the victims take it as regular checks by the officers. Racial profiling refers to the act of using race to determine the criminality of a person by the law enforcers (Legewie, 2016). Studies have revealed that the African-American males are more likely to be incarcerated or questioned by police officers than white Americans. The African American and other members of minority groups are stopped questioned and searched based on race and sex. However, it occurs in other places such as schools, airports and banks among other areas. Racial profiling is, therefore, a problem that is faced by African-American males. This paper investigates the racial profiling of African American males in New York City from 2000-2015. To achieve this, the paper aims to identify the main reasons for racial profiling. Also, this research seeks to determine the justice system view on the offense and to investigate the impacts of racial profiling.

Literature Review

African American males are the primary victims of racial profiling in the US. They also view themselves as victims. More than fifty percent of African American males involved confirmed to be victims. According to Gardner (2014), racial profiling of the African-American males is not a recent phenomenon but rather a renamed form of racial discrimination that existed in the twentieth century, towards the people of color. African Americans tend to face stiff scrutiny by law enforcers than the white Americans. African-American males remain prone to harassment. In a study conducted by Hayle, Wortley, and Tanner (2016), racial profiling is not isolated to black males in towns. It is applied in a non-discriminatory way to all African-American males with no regard to economic and social status. Black Americans who are doctors, lawyers, teachers, and business people are humiliated by the officers just because of being black and male. Several studies have been conducted to identify the main reason behind the African-American males racial profiling. According to Legewie (2016), the negative perception of the black Americans by the law enforcers overshadow the fact that they are law abiding individuals. The African-American males are associated with crime and drug trafficking (Hayle, Wortley & Tanner, 2016). This is the reason why most of the black drivers are stopped and searched by the police as they are deemed suspicious. For instance, in the eyes of the officers, an African-American male driving a fancy car is presumed to be involved in illegal activities rather than being viewed as a hardworking person. However, the police officers defend their acts by indicating that 35 % of drug arrests are mostly African-American males, despite the Black Americans composing only 13 % of the US population (Gardner, 2014). With these statistics, the profiling advocates view the practice as helpful and meaningful.

Racial profiling continues to be experienced by the African-American males as the American justice system has condoned and encouraged it. By sex and race, a criminal profile is described as black and male. As Legewie, indicates, when the African-American males press charges against the law enforcers, they go ahead, and the charges are dismissed by the courts (Legewie, 2016). Law enforcement groups in the New York City and the whole country have acted in unison in opposing the legislation of traffic police regulations such as the Traffic Stops Statistics Study Act (Gardner, 2014). In their argument, they claim that such regulations would place an unnecessary burden on the police and could lead to lawsuits against the police. The US Supreme Court allowed the police to order people out of their cars on traffic stops for checkups. Most of the research studies concentrate on the forms, incidences, and reasons for racial profiling. The impacts of profiling are rarely investigated. From the conducted surveys, the victims indicate that they suffer humiliation. For instance, as the black American drive and they are stopped, questioned and checked, they feel humiliated (Hayle, Wortley & Tanner, 2016). Also, as they are kept waiting in the traffic stops for long, they are inconvenienced. The other effect that is likely to result from profiling by law enforcers is death. As the police stop the black people, they may be failing to cooperate with the officers or become violent which would prompt the officers to use force. This may result in injury or death. This area is not well studied. Research findings on the impacts of the racial profiling would help the legislatures see the need to implement regulations to protect the African-American males.

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  1. Gardner, T. G. (2014). Racial profiling as collective definition. Social Inclusion, 2(3), 052-059.
  2. Hayle, S., Wortley, S., & Tanner, J. (2016). Race, street life, and policing: Implications for racial profiling 1. Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice, 58(3), 322-353.
  3. Legewie, J. (2016). Racial profiling and use of force in police stops: How local events trigger periods of increased discrimination 1. American Journal of Sociology, 122(2), 379-424.
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