Profiling America S Racist Ideology Essay


Racial Profiling and Discrimination in America Slavery in the United States formally began during the late seventeenth century, when the country was still a British colony. The institution then expanded and intensified rapidly during the eighteenth century, reaching its peak during the start of the nineteenth. During most of this time, for all intents and purposes, simply to be black was enough to identify one as a slave. That is to say, racial distinctions between whites and people of color were not merely noted, but comprised the economic and legal foundation of American society. Once slavery was abolished, black Americans did not suddenly occupy a station equal to that of their white contemporaries. Jim Crow and anti-miscegenation laws were in effect, usually in the South, and other forms of segregation were commonplace throughout the nation. In the poem "Outcast," Claude McKay clearly identifies the prejudice and the alienation he faces as a legacy of slavery and of the forceful removal of Africans from their ancestral homelands (McKay 198). Racial discrimination in the United States is more easily understood when viewed in this wider context of American history: it can be hardly surprising that racism still exists in a country whose economy was propelled early on by race-based slavery, let alone one in which legal segregation was the norm until far more recently. Franklin's story, "The Train from Hate," is a succinct illustration of life in a time of strict racial segregation: a train conductor can simply kick a black family off a train for entering the white coach, even when it was the only available entrance (Franklin 223).

Today, one of the major forms of discrimination that faces black Americans is in the disproportionate policing of black communities and the impunity with which police officers often brutalize or even kill the members of those communities. The Black Lives Matter movement exists today specifically to draw attention...


Unarmed black men, often teenagers or young adults like Michael Brown, are frequently shot to death while unarmed, under suspicious circumstances, leading in most cases to nothing more than paid administrative leave with no real consequences for the offending officer. The callous disregard for black lives displayed in these instances is hardly a far cry from the coldness with which the family was treated in Franklin's story.
Dwight Okita's poem, "In Response to Executive Order 9066," shows how the dehumanization of an entire racial minority affects children as well as adults. A fourteen-year-old girl would normally be presented as a paragon of innocence, relatively ignorant of political affairs, and generally sympathetic. However, in the context of World War II, and Roosevelt's executive order, she comes to be viewed not as an innocent child but as a possible enemy spy (Okita 198). Under different circumstances, another form of white supremacist ideology made it possible for a police officer to kill twelve-year-old Tamir Rice, viewing him as a menace and a violent threat. Okita also shows us that black Americans are not the only racial minority who face constant profiling:. any non-white group that runs the risk of being profiled. At the current historical moment in America, many Arab and South Asian-Americans are also, correctly or not, perceived as Muslims, and accused of terrorism or of upholding a fundamentally violent religious system. In reality, Islam is no more inherently violent than Christianity, as even a cursory glance at the Bible will reveal. However, to attribute grotesque violence and barbarism to the Muslim religion is far easier for many than to acknowledge the ways in which Western imperialism shaped the modern Middle East. Not only does racial profiling, in this case, affect those perceived as Muslims in America, but it also has an effect on American foreign policy. It is easy to see how Islamophobic…

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