Racial Profiling Is Generally Defined Research Paper

Download this Research Paper in word format (.doc)

Note: Sample below may appear distorted but all corresponding word document files contain proper formatting

Excerpt from Research Paper:

A poll conducted by the Gallop group and published in the journal Public Administration Review (Ward, 2002, p. 726) shows that 59% of adults surveyed agreed that "…some police officers stop motorists of certain racial or ethnic groups" simply because the officers guess that those certain groups "are more likely than others to commit certain types of crime." Of the African-Americans that were surveyed, 78% agreed with that statement; 56% of the Caucasians agreed; and 80% of both groups agreed that it is an unfair practices (Ward, 726).

Ward references a study called "The Ohio Study" (conducted by David Harris in 1999) that used municipal court records from the metropolitan regions of Akron, Dayton, Toledo and Columbus. This study indicated that over a two-year period, African-Americans were "twice as likely to receive tickets as non-blacks, whites or Hispanics (Ward, 726). Another research survey was conducted in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Ward continues. This one was performed by John Lamberth, who put together a "statistical analysis of the racial distribution of traffic stops in New Jersey. He came up with a research design that would determine the rate at which black Americans were stopped "compared with the percentage of blacks driving the same stretch of road" (Ward, 727).

This research required careful counting of cars on the road, and a sharp eye to determine if the driver was black, or other riders in the car were black. This took "teams of observers" on both sides of the freeway (called a "turnpike" in New Jersey). What the volunteer researchers did was merge their cars onto the freeway between certain guide points; they set their cruise control to 5 MPH above the speed limit, and from that point, they "watched cars that passed them or that they passed and noted the race of the drivers as well as whether the driver exceeded the speed limit."

What they found was that black and white drivers "violated traffic laws at the same rate," however, 73.2% of those cars stopped and arrested on that same stretch of the New Jersey Turnpike were driven by African-Americans, or had black passengers, Ward explains (727). That would seem to be clear evidence that at least in this instance, there was racial profiling.

African-American drivers have long complained that they are "routinely stopped and detained" just because law enforcement officers believe that blacks tend to be involved in more criminal activity than whites.

In fact the African-American community became so unified in their protests against being stopped simply because of the color of their skin, that in 2001, President George W. Bush directed his Attorney General, John Ashcroft, to "…review the use by federal law enforcement authorities of race as a factor in conducting stops, searches and other investigative procedures" (Ward, 727). Bush was showing -- to the African-American community, and to the nation -- that he really cared about the issue. He was clearly motivated to determine how the federal government could possibly "…work in cooperation with state and local law enforcement in order to assess the extent and nature of any such practices" (Ward, 727).

Ashcroft, a conservative, was moved by the facts and explanations he heard from citizens who testified in Congress about racial profiling. The testimony, Ashcroft said (quoted by Ward on page 727), "galvanized an opinion of mine from the sort of philosophic to the tragic. I had long believed," Ashcroft continued, that to treat people "based solely on their race was in violation of the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution" (Ward, 727).

Janet Reno was Attorney General under the Bill Clinton administration. After the Clinton era Reno -- and as a retired federal official (Cabinet member) -- said that "…the perception of too many Americans is that police officers cannot be trusted." That trust between citizens and law enforcement -- in particular in minority communities -- "…is so essential to effective policing" that when it breaks down, it is hurtful for folks who believe they are being singled out from others because of the ethnicity.

In his "Summary and Conclusions" section, Ward suggests that data collection laws need to be put into place, and moreover, relying on information from law enforcement "…may not be the best way to establish whether racial profiling is widespread" (734). Relying on self-reported data that are then to become part of an empirical investigation may defeat the purpose of the data collection in the first place.

Meanwhile, an article in the journal Police Practice and Research (Scheb, et al., 2009, p. 75), reports on an investigation of some 130,683 traffic stops made by police officers in the Knoxville (Tennessee) Police Department between January 2001 and December 2004. Scheb writes that until recently, a great deal of the evidence of racial profiling was "anecdotal in nature," and there was not a lot of statistical data backing up claims by minorities that they have been harassed by unjustified police stops. However many states were taking steps to determine the extent to which there was racial bias in traffic stops.

By 2007, the authors continue, "The great majority of states, including Tennessee, had undertaken efforts to collect data on motor vehicle stops" (76). In 2000, the General Accounting Office took on a "broad analysis of five existing quantitative studies" in order to determine if law enforcement officers do stop drivers "on the basis of race" (Scheb, 76-77). The results of that survey by the GAO were not very satisfying to the African-American community in particular, and other minority communities (Latino, for example). The GAO reported that there was "…no comprehensive, nationwide source of information on motorist agencies' traffic stop practices" (Scheb, 77).

However, researchers carefully examined 13 academic studies on the issue that had been conducted between 1996 and 2001; they were based on data from police-citizen contacts during highway stops. And they found -- in all 13 studies -- "…significant racial disparities in the rates at which citizens were stopped." The studies showed that there was indeed racial discrimination in a substantial number of these stops (Scheb, 77).

In conclusion, racial justice is an important part of a democracy, and where there is injustice there needs to be a change in the laws, and a change in the say police and other civil authorities treat citizens of all races and ethnicities.

Works Cited

Cole, George F., and Smith, Christopher E. The American System of Criminal Justice.

Cengage Learning, 2006.

Kops, Deborah. Racial Profiling. Tarrytown, NY: Marshall…[continue]

Cite This Research Paper:

"Racial Profiling Is Generally Defined" (2011, October 18) Retrieved December 11, 2016, from http://www.paperdue.com/essay/racial-profiling-is-generally-defined-46566

"Racial Profiling Is Generally Defined" 18 October 2011. Web.11 December. 2016. <http://www.paperdue.com/essay/racial-profiling-is-generally-defined-46566>

"Racial Profiling Is Generally Defined", 18 October 2011, Accessed.11 December. 2016, http://www.paperdue.com/essay/racial-profiling-is-generally-defined-46566

Other Documents Pertaining To This Topic

  • Racial Profiling Within Law Enforcement

    The problem is endemic and deeply rooted, but it is also one that cannot be openly discussed with social stigma. Racial profiling as a theoretical practice is not wholly unfair, it is the rational use of discrimination to pre-empt crime. However, since racial profiling is often combined with racial discrimination, the inevitable result is that both such practices are institutionally rebuked. Law enforcement will continue to use race as a

  • Does the Maricopa County Sheriffs Office Engage in Racial Profiling...

    Racial Profiling in Maricopa County Sheriff's Office: Racial profiling is a practice that contributes to unfair treatment of individuals based on their origins and/or race. In the past few years, there have been accusations that the Sheriff's Office of Maricopa County engages in this practice. These allegations have particularly been leveled against Sheriff Joe Arpaio who is renowned for his tough position on illegal aliens, crime, and minimal prisoner benefits. As

  • Racial Profiling and Unlawful Discrimination

    In evaluating the legality of racial disparities in law enforcement, the courts have clearly sought to determine the motivation for discriminating." (Knowles et al, 207) This illustrates a wide political and philosophical variance in the way that Americans understand this concept of police discrimination, with the courts asking questions seeming to imply that discrimination is not in and of itself a negative thing. Quite to the point, across the last eight years, the War On Terror had

  • Arab and African Americans and Racial

    (Davis, 2001) That number is sure to have risen dramatically since Davis did her research. The debates surrounding both the efficacy and the morality of racial profiling have created a lot of disagreement from many communities of color. Kabzuag Vaj is an organizer with the Asian Freedom Project in Madison, Wisconsin. The Asian Freedom Project has garnered hundreds of accounts of racial profiling of Southeast Asian youth over the past

  • Academic Profile of Home Schoolers a Case Study

    Academic Profile of Home Schooling - a Case Study Home Schooling vs. Traditional Educational Methods Home Schooling Methodology Focus of the Practicum Culture Area of Inquiry Subject/Topic Areas Home Schooling as an Alternative Curricula and Materials Used for Home Schooling The Success of Home Schooling Evaluation Design Conditions for Change Timeline Chronology Legislative Information: Maryland: A Legal Analysis State Laws and Regulations - Maryland Goulart and Travers vs. Calvert County Home-schooled Kids Find Social Growth" Home Schoolers in the Trenches" Home School Academic Advantage Increases Over Time" Home Schooling." ERIC Digest,

  • Thomas Jefferson Personal Profile Contirbutions to the

    Thomas Jefferson Personal Profile contirbutions to the founding of the nation Religious Freedom Declaration of Independence OPINION OF SLAVERY AND RACE RELTIONS Thomas Jefferson has undoubtedly made significant contributions to the founding of the United States. Regarded as one of America's most predominant political figures, Jefferson has been lauded for several milestones during his career. Jefferson is perhaps most well-known as the author of the Declaration of Independence and as the staunchest supporter of the

  • Educational Policies Social Issues A Define

    Strategies to successfully implement the Program Introduce educative programs so as to organize and enlighten the American Youth so as to develop their perceptive of their civic responsibilities. Introduce programs that assist students develop admiration and broadmindedness towards others, their moral and religious values, aesthetic understanding and compassion. Benefits of the Program It is apparent that misinterpretation and misperception about the Muslim culture and ethnicity has justified the disinclination of teachers to risk interfering

Read Full Research Paper
Copyright 2016 . All Rights Reserved