The Effects of Racial Profiling

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Is it possible for white America to really understand blacks’ distrust of the legal system, their fears of racial profiling and the police, without understanding how cheap a black life was for so long a time in our nation’s history stated by Philip Dray. Racial profiling is a serious matter going on in the world today. Majority of the world racial profiles which is not beneficial but causes only more problems. Society stirs up drama when racial profiling someone, for instance when a white woman called the police on a young black girl selling water outside her residence. Racial profiling is something that needs to stop but in reality, it will never go away.

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How can someone solely judge someone based off the color of their skin in this day and age when we should be way pass racism, even though racism will always exist. Skin color or ethnicity is something someone cannot choose and should not be judged or discriminated against for. Many Americans have an image of a young black male being violent and a menacing street thug is fueled and perpetuated by stereotypes everywhere (WELCH). The perceptions of African Americans have stemmed from our nation’s history. Perceptions of Blacks throughout our nation’s history, Marc Mauer (1999) explains that Whites have long viewed criminal behavior as an inherent characteristic of Blacks (WELCH). African Americans are regularly being stereotyped as criminals. Although the association of crime with Blackness may have existed for some time, Mauer explains that it was not until the 1970s and early 1980s that the popular stereotype of the young Black man evolved in the eyes of many from a petty thief or rapist into that of an ominous criminal predator, or what Katheryn Russell (2002) has argued is the widely recognized criminalblackman (WELCH). Within the past few decades it has been an emergence of controversial law enforcement practice of racial profiling, which officials target racial minorities in criminal investigations in an attempt to increase the likelihood of uncovering illegal activity and is a consequence of prevailing stereotypes about the race of criminals (WELCH). Although most crime is actually committed by Whites, the common perception is that the majority of it is perpetrated by Blacks (Gilens, 1996).

A case of racial profiling involved Trayvon Martin on February 26, 2012. Martin was only 17 years old when he murdered in cold blood. On the night of February 26, Martin was walking back home to his father’s house from a convenience store when he was approached by a neighborhood watchman. George Zimmerman the neighborhood watch volunteer in the neighborhood seen Martin wearing a hoodie, had a bag of skittles and an Arizona tea (Brown).

Martin was unarmed and not bothering anyone. Martin was followed and proceeded by Zimmerman even though the 911 dispatcher told Zimmerman to leave him alone and wait for police to get there. Zimmerman continued to follow Martin anyways regardless of what he was told. As he continued to follow Martin he then shot and killed him. Zimmerman claimed he shot and killed him in self-defense, which is not true. How can it be self-defense, when he was following Martin and not the other way around? Since Zimmerman claimed self-defense police did not file charges against him and was released (Brown). March 23, 2012, includes two significant events in the Trayvon Martin case, first Geraldo Rivera of Fox News suggested that the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death as George Zimmerman was (Brown).

After Martin was fatally shot and killed thousands of people across the world including NAACP signed petitions and attended rallies and marches to demand justice. Finally, Zimmerman turned himself in on April 11, 2012 and was charged with second degree murder (Brown). In addition to seeking justice, some of the organizations also used the case to call attention to racial profiling and the controversial Castle doctrine, or stand-your-ground law, which they believe played a role in Martins death (Brown). In Florida there is a stand your ground law that allows people to be able to use deadly force when they are in fear or great bodily harm (Brown). On July 13, 2013 Zimmerman was found not guilty by a six-woman jury. This verdict sparked outrage all across the world, because an innocent young black man was killed for absolutely no reason. Martin was not only racially profiled, but his precious life was taken. If Zimmerman would have listened to the 911 dispatcher telling him not to follow Martin, then Martin would still be alive. Martin was racially profiled, followed and shot to death for being a young black man wearing a hoodie in a nice neighborhood.

Another recent case involving racial profiling involves Michael Brown. Brown was an 18-year-old male who was getting ready to go to college in a few weeks. There was a robbery at a close by convenience store and Officer Darren Wilson assumed that Brown matched the description. Wilson never investigated or talked to Brown before killing him in the middle of the street. Brown was purposely killed on August 9, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was walking down the street with a friend minding their own business. Officer Darren Wilson approached Brown and his friend and parked his vehicle at angle to block them from walking any further (DOJ Report on Shooting of Michael Brown).

Wilson is stating that Brown was a threat to him, while witnesses state that Wilson grabbed Brown by the neck physically assaulting him. Wilson then proceeds to withdraw his gun and striking Brown in the right hand (DOJ Report on Shooting of Michael Brown). According to Wilson he only shot brown in the hand due to him reaching in the SUV, but witness testimonies to do agree with that. Although no eyewitnesses directly corroborate Wilson’s account of Brown’s attempt to gain control of the gun, there is no credible evidence to disprove Wilson’s account of what occurred inside the SUV (DOJ Report on Shooting of Michael Brown). Multiple witnesses state that Brown’s arms were never inside the SUV and that Wilson was lying regarding what really happened. Witnesses also state that Wilson fired multiple shots at Brown as he was running away and striking him in the back multiple times. As Brown moved towards Wilson, Wilson then began to fire multiple shots until Brown fell to the ground. It is believed that Wilson seen Brown reach his right hand under his t-shirt into what appeared to be his waistband, even though there is no evidence to prove that Brown reached for anything at all (DOJ Report on Shooting of Michael Brown). Wilson said he feared for his life and shot in self-defense which killed 18-year-old Brown.

Ballistics analysis indicates that Wilson fired a total of 12 shots, two from the SUV and ten on the roadway and with witness accounts and an audio recording indicate that when Wilson and Brown were on the roadway, Wilson fired three gunshot volleys, pausing in between each one (). Autopsy report said Brown died from the gunshot to his head while people watched and seen him being murdered by an Officer who is supposed to protect you. Witness accounts and cellular phone video prove that Wilson did not touch Brown’s body after he fired the final shot and Brown fell to the ground, so he did not even check to see if he had a pulse or not but in fact he knew he had killed him (DOJ Report on Shooting of Michael Brown). There were quite a few witnesses who stated that Brown had his hands up and complied with Wilson. Complying with a racist cop is not enough, because they can still murder you and get away with it. Once again thousands of people began to protest and march for justice to hoping Wilson would be found guilty. Unfortunately, the judge found Wilson not guilty of murder for killing an unarmed black male.

In the last couple of years there has been multiple reports of officers killing unarmed African Americans. Police brutality is something that is happening every day to minorities and is a very serious matter. I remember in 2016 when Philando Castile was killed, he was racially profiled and that is why he was pulled over because the officer they look like suspects who had just robbed a place. Once pulled over Castro had told the officer he was licensed to carry and was getting his license and registration out when all of a sudden, the officer fired multiple shots killing him. Not only did the officer kill him, but he killed him in front of his girlfriend and her 4-year-old daughter while she caught the entire thing on Facebook live.

Issues concerning racial profiling, also referred to as DWB, driving while Black, or driving while brown, have significantly affected our country (The Benefits of Audio-Visual Technology In Addressing Racial Profiling). Officers killing minorities have become normal in today’s society. It is sad to see so many young unarmed black men lose their lives for no reason. Both of these cases showed how racially profiling ends terrible. Not only did Brown not be able to go to college like he had planned, and Martin never even got the chance to celebrate his 18th birthday. These cases were similar in many ways, because both of these young men were minding their own business not bothering anyone when they were approached and harassed.

Outcomes of these cases were difficult and hard to understand, because Zimmerman and Wilson were found not guilty of murder. Thousands of people marched and protested for justice for it to not even happen. It truly breaks my heart to read about these mothers who have to bury their children all over senseless gun violence. Police officers are supposed to protect and serve but majority no longer do that. Officers are threatened by black men that they feel the need to always use excessive force and ultimately killing them. These young men were shot more than a couple times, so how could it be considered self-defense? Zimmerman and Wilson shot to kill and that is exactly what they intended to do. As stated in the law enforcement code of ethics, as a law enforcement officer my fundamental duty is to serve the community; to safeguard lives and property; to protect the innocent against deception, the weak against oppression or intimidation, and the peaceful against violence or disorder; and to respect the constitutional rights of all to liberty, equality and justice (The Benefits of Audio-Visual Technology In Addressing Racial Profiling).

A law enforcement tool, known as racial profiling, targets drivers for heightened scrutiny or harassment because of the color of their skin, with an alleged traffic violation used as a pretext (Racial Profiling Within Law Enforcement Agencies). Racial profiling will never go away, but hopefully killing unarmed men will. Racism will always exist and is only getting worse. Unfortunately, recently there has been several events involving rogue law enforcement officers that have cast a negative light and caused the public to doubt the true significance of the law enforcement code (The Benefits of Audio-Visual Technology In Addressing Racial Profiling). Officers who racial profile should be fired, because it is harming minorities. I do not believe they are many good cops left due to seeing so many bad cops taking innocent lives. I pray one day this will all end, and racial profiling will not exist.

Works Cited

Brown, R. R. (2016). Trayvon Martin Social Media Messaging: An Analysis of Framing and Media Types in Online Messages by Civil Rights Organizations. IOSR Journal of

Humanities and Social Science,21(09), 10-21. doi:10.9790/0837-2109101021. Retrieved from

DOJ Report on Shooting of Michael Brown – (n.d.). Retrieved from

Racial Profiling Quotes (19 quotes). (n.d.). Retrieved from

Racial Profiling Within Law Enforcement Agencies

(n.d.). Retrieved from

The Benefits of Audio-Visual Technology In Addressing Racial Profiling. Hearing Before The Committee On Government Reform House Of Representatives One Hundred Seventh Congress First Session. July 19, 2001 Serial No. 107??“36

(n.d.). Retrieved from

Welch, K. (2007). Black Criminal Stereotypes and Racial Profiling. Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, 23(3), 276??“288.

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The Effects of Racial Profiling. (2019, Nov 15). Retrieved December 8, 2022 , from

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