Dylan N. New York

Racial Profiling

The American people need to come together as one to eliminate racial profiling as a whole.

November 7, 2016

Dear Mr./Mrs. President,

Scott Wortley once wrote, “To argue that racial profiling is harmless, that it only hurts those who break the law, is to totally ignore the psychological and social damage that can result from always being considered one of the “usual suspects.” Racial profiling and racism conflicts minorities across the United States in more than one way.

For some odd reason, people are led to postulate that racial profiling is some sort of new “epidemic.” The Huffington Post stated in an article they posted, “The problem, however, dates back centuries and is a fairly recent manifestation of discriminatory conduct by law enforcement and the criminal justice system that dates back to at least the 1700s in the United States.” This goes to prove that racial profiling is indeed a problem that has been going on for a long time. The same article also stated, “In 1704, South Carolina founded the first slave patrol, in which white men policed black slaves on plantations and hunted for escaped slaves.” Africans Americans have not been only faced racial profiling, they have also been the victims of outright discrimination for centuries, it’s time for a change.

The principles of racial profiling can vary from cops being ignorant to African-Americans “giving” someone a false sense of fear by the way they act or even dress. An example of such comes from the website www.reason.com, it says, “It is early in the morning, and the well-dressed young African-American man is driving, he then gets pulled over by a cop, the young man is told to leave his vehicle, as the troopers announce their intention to search it. "Hey, where did you get the money for something like this?" one trooper asks mockingly while he starts the process of going through every inch of the Ford Explorer. Soon, an officer pulls off an inside door panel. More dismantling of the vehicle follows. They say they are looking for drugs, but, in the end they find nothing. After ticketing the driver for speeding, the two officers casually drive off.” Law enforcement explicitly pulled him over because they profiled him.

There are many derivations of racial profiling. The Ontario Human Rights Commision (OHRC) states, “Those who experience profiling pay the price emotionally, psychologically, mentally, and in some cases, even financially and physically.” African Americans are afflicted by this growing “epidemic”. One thing that could be done about this predicament could be to train police. The type of training they could use would be in the sociology and psychology part rather than gun control. The American Psychological Association conducted a study on the psychological effects of racial profiling and found that the “victim effects” included Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (P.T.S.D.) and other various forms of stress related disorders. On the other side of the field, you have the law enforcement perspective. When an African American gets killed at the hands of a officer of law enforcement, they, more often than not, will say it was the other person’s fault. They say, “they had a gun,” or, “I thought they were reaching for a weapon,” or something along those lines. When this is said, they usually are cleared of all charges or, at the most, get put on administrative leave.

Racial profiling is a monumental epidemic in the United States. African-Americans and other minorities are being killed daily by improperly trained police officers, and even if people aren’t being killed by cops, they are being left with numerous social/physical effects afterwards that could potentially make them feel different for the rest of their lives. States throughout the United States with big cities like New York City, Chicago, Baltimore, Washington D.C., and Atlanta should have all law enforcement officers equipped with body cameras. I understand this will cost a lot of money, but if our country can spend $718 billion annually on defense and international security, then I truly believe we can allocate some of that capital for an immense problem that plagues the United States. The choice is yours, and I hope you will do what’s best for our country.

Sincerely, Dylan