Imagine driving home with your family, after enjoying a nice night out of dinner and a movie. All of a sudden you see flashing lights and are being pulled over by a police officer. Your children are asking what’s wrong and why you are pulling over, and you are wondering the same thing. As if being pulled over was not enough, you are then pulled out at gunpoint in front of your crying children and detained for about 30 minutes. Eventually, the officer tells you to go about your way, without offering an apology or valid reason for pulling you over.
As you sit by the roadside, in shock and utter disbelief about what just occurred, you feel totally violated and wonder if you are all alone with your feelings. Unfortunately, you are not because everyday countless others will experience some form of racial profiling, and many Americans do not have to imagine being in this type of situation, because it has been there reality for quite some time. Americans are being subjected to racial profiling by local law enforcement agencies, security guards, airport security and the federal government at alarming rates.
In 2005, The Department of Justice released a report that documenting the disparity in regards to racial profiling by law enforcement. That report showed that African Americans and Latinos were 3 times more likely than Caucasians to experience force or threat during a police stop, and were also about 3 times more likely to be searched during a stop as reported on a fact sheet posted by the National Association the Advancement of Colored People (http://www. naacp. org/advocacy/research/facts/Criminal.
Justice. 9. 07. pdf). In April of 2008, the ACLU of Arizona issued a report, based on Department of Public Safety (DPS) data, which showed that Minorities were usually stopped for longer periods of time than Caucasians and also 2. 5 more times likely to be searched after being stopped by DPS, even though they were less likely to be found with contraband (ACLU of Arizona, Driving While Black or Brown 3 (2008), available at http://www. acluaz. org/ DrivingWhileBlackorBrown. pd).
These figures may seem small, but the effects of these instances are paramount. Racial profiling is an inexcusable and unethical intrusion of civil liberties, based solely upon a person’s innate condition and characteristics. Racial profiling, according to Dictionary. com, is “a form of racism involving police focus on people of certain racial groups when seeking suspected criminals. ” Unfortunately this behavior is not new but a continuous problem that has been ongoing for decades nationally as well as locally.
Operation Wetback as it was referred for example, was a U. S. government effort to wipe out Mexicans after the Bracero Program, a labor exchange program, which had brought thousands of Mexicans to work legally in agriculture. According to the Encyclopedia of Immigration and Migration in the American West, “in attempting to execute Operation Wetback, police and Border Patrol agents swept through Latino neighborhoods interrogating and otherwise harassing Americans of Mexicans descent or anyone who ‘looked Mexican. ” Racial profiling in the past didn’t only involve Latinos but other races and ethnic groups as well. Profiling has also been proved to exist among Asian Americans also. During World War II, after Japan had bombed Pearl Harbor, U. S. government officials began secluding approximately 120,000 Japanese Americans, two-thirds of whom were U. S. Citizens and done solely on race.
According to Cathy Young, a Boston Globe columnist “this is almost universally regarded as a shameful blot on America’s history, a cautionary tale of racism…” These are just a few examples of racial profiling in our country, an issue that just about every race has dealt with one time or another. References ACLU of Arizona, Driving While Black or Brown 3 (2008), available at http://www. acluaz. org/ DrivingWhileBlackorBrown. pdf. Lacey, Michaels. (2009, March 19) Are Your Papers in Order? Phoenix New Times. Retrieved September 17, 2009, from ProQuest. Document ID: 1663646261) NAACP, African American Criminal Justice Fact Sheet 2 (2007), available at http://www. naacp. org/advocacy/research/facts/Criminal. Justice. 9. 07. pdf “Operation Wetback. ” Encyclopedia of Immigration and Migration in the American West, 2009. SAGE Publications. Retrieved September 17, 2009. http://sage-ereference. com/immigration/Article_n231. html>. Racial profiling. (n. d. ). Dictionary. com’s 21st Century Lexicon. Retrieved September 29, 2009, from Dictionary. com website: http://dictionary. reference. com/browse/racial profiling