Introduction: Something People Should Know about Linda Chavez and Racial Profiling
After 1919, racial inequality problems should have vanished without a trace; yet even in the present days, the problems on an uncomfortable subject of race manage somehow worm into the lives of millions of people, causing numerous debates, serious conflicts and several uncomfortable situations. One of the topics on the agenda of the world peace and security, the issue of racial profiling is well worth taking a closer look at.
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In her article, Linda Chavez, an American commentator and an author, offers quite an unusual look at the problem which has become a notorious part and parcel of everyday life.
Depicting in a rather graphic way all the problems which the people of an Arabic or Israeli appearance have to bear in the process of traveling to and from the USA, she actually makes it obvious that the given measures are quite understood and really adequate.
Why These Things Happen: Racial Profiling as It Is
However, there comes the time when one just has to ask oneself a question about why things like racial profiling exist and whether they are a product of people’s concern for safety or merely another form of racism.
On the one hand, there is no use denying that in the era when terrorism has become a shocking element of reality, such precaution measures serve to make travels safer. On the other hand, the rights of certain nationalities are considerably infringed.
As Etzioni & Marsh explain, “There is no sound law enforcement rationale for detention by visual association, for there exists face-recognition software for picking individuals out of crowds far more efficiently and accurately than by the crude use of racial characteristics” (Etzioni & Marsh, 2003, 17).
Anyway, there is no doubt that the idea of racial profiling is by no means an attempt to humiliate certain nationalities; on the contrary, the given procedure is merely another means to ensure tighter security.
However, in their attempts to make the world a safer place, the officials do not consider the possibility of offending someone with the given policy or not being politically correct.
When Overreacting Is Good: The Guardians of the Humankind Are on the Watch
Taking a closer look at Chavez’s article, one must admit that the author has the point. Indeed, in the current situation, there is hardly anything that one can do to avoid the checking or to protest against it (Chavez, 2012).
Even if there are certain ways to change the existing law, the whole procedure will doubtlessly become extremely time-consuming and is highly unlikely to drive to any meaningful results.
In addition, it is obvious that there is really nothing personal in the attitudes of the officials and that the only thing which latter are aimed at is providing the passengers maximum safety. In the light of relatively recent tragedy of the 9/11, the given precaution measures sound most reasonable (Boonin, 2011, 349).
The Dark Side of Suspicion: Racial Profiling at Its Worst
However, it cannot be argued that racial profiling is an unpleasant phenomenon, to say the least. While providing safety for a certain part of the American society, it does presuppose a number of issues concerning the basic human rights, which immediately pts it in a conflict with the U. S. democracy ideas.
However, it is also worth mentioning that the arguments of the opponents of racial profiling go beyond simple calls for equal rights; the former have actually offered a coherent theory, according to which denying the right for the benefit of the doubt actually leads to the most undesirable effect:
According to one law professor, if people are treated equally, then everyone who commits the same rime should stand an even chance of getting caught, regardless of his or her race, gender, social status, or amount of wealth. Racial profiling works against this ideal by targeting people according to their race, gender, social status and other traits. (Kops 61)
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Thus, with a solid theory to back their ideas up, the opponents of the racial profiling system actually offer a new way to look at the problem. It is important that they do not offer the readers to stand in the shoes of the victims of racial profiling.
Instead, the opponents of racial profiling suggest considering what effect the phenomenon has on the society and people’s moods. Quite an efficient manner of proving their point, the given position means that Chavez’s pacifist position is not the only possible alternative.
Searching for the Golden Mean: Set the Priorities Straight
Even though what has been done so far to prevent the racial profiling from taking place, as well as to help people change their attitude towards the entire procedure, the latter still remains humiliating and inhumane towards the people who happened to be of the same origin as the world’s most wanted criminals.
Therefore, further measures are to be taken to either change the security procedure completely, or reinvent people’s perception of racial profiling as a phenomenon. Despite the fact that at the moment, racial profiling seems the only possible way out, alternatives of the humiliating procedure can possibly appear.
According to Orr & Morgen, “Opponents of the use of racial profiling in airports are eager to find a solution that maintains the safety of passengers and upholds the civil liberties that are protected by the U. S. Constitution” (70).
Hence, it is obvious that the active search for an alternative to the existing system is in the process. Even though there has been nothing found yet, the activists are still attempting at making the airport services friendlier towards the people of “suspicious” race or nationality.
Conclusion: X-Raying for Bad Intentions. When People Learn to Trust Each Other
Thus, the problem of racial profiling is of truly cosmic proportions and, indeed, it comes quite close to racism. However, in defense of the phenomenon, one must say that racial profiling, unlike racial discrimination, does not concern a particular race – the tables can turn any day, and the next extremist organization will cast the shadow on another nationality.
Although the idea of being suspected just because of a nationality or race does seem quite obscene, one cannot argue about its reasonability, which means that, for a certain time period, the representatives of the given race or nationality just have to grind and bear it. Sacrificing their time and pride for the sake of other people’s safety and, perhaps, lives, the victims of racial profiling need to take a more nothing-personal attitude.
Boonin, D. (2011). Should race matter? Unusual answers to the usual questions. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Chavez, L. (2012). Everything isn’t racial profiling. In A. Abusalim, N. Bilikozen, & S.
Sayer (Eds.) Where I stand: the center and the periphery (412-414). London, UK: Pearson Education.
Etzioni, A. & & Marsh, J. H. (2003). Rights vs. Public safety after 9/11: America in the age of terrorism. Oxford, UK: Rowman & Littlefield, Inc.
Kops, D. (2006). Racial profiling. Tarrytown, NY: Marshall Cavendish.
Orr, T. & Morgen, E. W. (2009). Racial profiling. Edina, MN: ABDO.