Racial profiling, also known as racial bias or street profiling, is the practice of targeting and stopping people who are minorities more than others. In many cases, this practice has resulted in African Americans being stopped by police officers more than anyone else.
This is because African Americans are generally more likely to be poor, and therefore more likely to have less money on them than other people. Legal or not, racial profiling can negatively impact an individual’s sense of safety and trust in police officers. It can also lead to distrust of the general public law enforcement agents.
While most people think that it’s only a problem that happens in large metropolitan cities where poverty is rife and jobs are few and far between, the truth is that racial profiling by the police can happen anywhere at any given time of the day or night as well. So how prevalent is racial profiling in America? Let us take a look:
How common is racial profiling in the United States?
A recent study has found that about two-thirds of American police departments engage in some sort of racial bias, though it’s not clear how widespread or systematic those biases are. If an African American is searched by police at a rate two times higher than if the person were white, does the search still constitute racial profiling?
Likewise, if a police department engages in racial profiling at a rate two times higher than that of another city or state, is that still racial profiling? These questions are difficult to answer, and they are even more difficult to answer using data. Nobody keeps track of how often police officers engage in racial profiling.
And even if somebody did, nobody knows how widespread the problem is. If a large number of police officers are biased, then the racial composition of the entire population is also biased. In other words, it’s nearly impossible to know how widespread racial profiling is by looking at how officers engage in it.
African Americans are more likely to be targeted by police
African Americans are more likely to be targeted by the police than any other racial group. A study of traffic stops found that African Americans are searched at a rate twice as high as Whites.
And they are searched longer than Whites, too. Not only that, but African Americans are more likely to be arrested following a stop: African Americans are more likely to be searched during routine traffic stops than Whites, and they are more likely to be arrested as a result.
Racial Profiling and the Black community
Racial profiling by the police is often used as a tactic to target and harass the African American community. This is especially true in small towns and cities where the police department and the community are not necessarily in sync with one another.
They may be racist or may just be ignorant, but officers in these departments may use racial profiling as a way to harass and mistreat African Americans. African Americans are generally more likely to be poor, and therefore less likely to have money on them than other people.
When a police officer pulls someone over, the person is most likely to look like a poor person because they may be wearing rags, may be carrying a backpack, or maybe walking barefoot. Because of this, the officer may think that the person is carrying drugs or other contraband that could get the person in trouble.
Asian Americans are less likely to experience racial profiling
Asian Americans are less likely to experience racial profiling than any other racial group. This is large because Asian Americans, on average, are wealthier than other racial groups. They are also less likely to look suspicious to the police because they generally wear professional clothing and do not look like they are poor.
Hispanic Americans are also at risk of experiencing racial profiling
Hispanic Americans are also at risk of experiencing racial profiling. This is a significant issue because there has been a significant increase in police presence in Hispanic communities. This has arisen due to the Drug War and the fact that Mexico has been sending more drugs to the United States.
Police officers in Hispanic communities may be on high alert for people who look like drug smugglers. Therefore, if a police officer in a Hispanic community pulls someone over, the person may be pulled over for possible drug smuggling.