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Practice and Concept of Racial Profiling Research Paper


We live in time when the beneficence of many socio-political and judicial policies, currently institutionalized in Western countries, is being increasingly doubted not only by ordinary citizens but by governmental top officials, as well.

For example, up until comparatively recent times, it used to be considered something utterly unlikely for the governmental official from a country that officially takes pride in being multicultural, to come up with public statements against ‘celebration of diversity’ policy.

Nowadays, this is no longer the case – on October 17, 2010, German Chancellor Angela Merkel had officially declared that the policy of multiculturalism in Germany had failed miserably. In his article, Weaver (2010) quotes Merkel: “This [multicultural] approach has failed, utterly failed” (Guardian.co.uk).

Therefore, it is only logical to expect that in very near future, the validity of many previously unquestionable multiculturalism-related and ideologically charged notions, such as the assumption that the practice of racial profiling by police is utterly inappropriate, would be revised. In our paper, we will aim at substantiating this thesis to a further extent.

Even a brief glimpse on how the concept of racial profiling is being defined by social scientists and political activists that consider themselves particularly ‘progressive’ (read – affiliated with neo-Liberal agenda), reveals an undeniable fact that, while coming up with a definition, these people intentionally strive to emphasize concept’s moral unsuitability.

For example, according to Banks (2001): “Racial profiling constitutes the intentional consideration of race in a manner that disparately impacts certain racial minority groups, contributing to the disproportionate investigation, detention, and mistreatment of innocent members of those groups” (p. 1077).

The definition of racial profiling by Ramirez et al. (2000) appears being just as emotionally charged: “Any police-initiated action that relies on the race, ethnicity, or national origin, rather than the behavior of an individual or information that leads the police to a particular individual who has been identified as being, or having been, engaged in criminal activity” (p. 3).

Both of these definitions, of course, were meant to expose the policy of racial profiling as being inheritably wicked and above all – scientifically unsubstantiated, as definitions’ very sounding implies that there is no link between the notion of race and the notion of crime.

Nevertheless, as crime-related statistical data indicates – the specifics of a particular individual’s biological constitution are indeed reflective of his or her tendency to indulge in anti-social behavior.

According to statistical data, available on the web site of U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, in 2009, out of 125,910 incidents of rape/sexual assault, African-Americans perpetrated 110,100 – that is, despite the fact that as of 2009, African-Americans constituted only 13.5% of America’s total population. Therefore, the suggestions that crime has color are absolutely legitimate, at least from statistical point of view.

This is why, even though the ideological censorship of political correctness has not yet ceased being an integral element of public discourse in the West, many intellectually honest political scientists find it impossible to refrain from mentioning certain things, of which ordinary citizens are being perfectly aware.

Risse and Zeckhauser’s (2004) article substantiates the validity of an earlier statement, as it does promote the idea that, when being assessed from conceptual perspective, the policy of racial profiling appears scientifically credible: “There is a significant correlation between membership in certain racial groups and the tendency to commit certain crimes” (p. 132).

In its turn, this explains why, as time goes by; the process of designing crime prevention policies in the U.S. and other Western countries continues to be increasingly affected by considerations of racial profiling, although in rather subtle manner.

In their article, Hernandez-Murillo and Knowles (2004) state: “According to the U.S. Department of Justice (2001), 16 state police agencies required collection of race and ethnicity data for all traffic stops as of March 2001, compared to only seven states in 1999” (p. 959). Thus, as of today, we have a peculiar situation.

On one hand, the very idea of racial profiling continues to draw ever-increased amounts of public criticism, with the stories about racist-minded White police officers being discriminate against representatives of racial minorities appearing not only in tabloid press and T.V. but also in many academic journals, with the authors of anti-racial profiling articles and studies suggesting that statistical data indicate that, despite being forbidden to have their decisions affected by different forms of racial biases, officers continue to treat non-Whites in particularly harsh manner.

In their study, Anwar and Fang (2006) state: “Data on trooper searches continue to show that higher proportion of troopers tend to search a minority motorists than white motorists” (p. 127). Some authors go even as far as implying the there is a certain conspirological aspect in how representatives of racial minorities are being subjected to racial profiling.

According to Hurwitz and Peffley (2005): “Crimes with white victims generate significantly faster police response times, higher probabilities of arrest and prosecution, and more ‘vigilant’ investigative strategies. There is also a sub­stantial bias due to the race of the suspect with officers more likely to use more force, arrest, and traffic profiling with black than white suspects” (p. 765).

On the other hand; however, the validity of an idea that the extent of one’s criminal mindedness is being rather biologically then environmentally predetermined, appears to be favored by the growing number of biologists and practicing criminologists, which why the concept of so-called ‘managerial penology’ has now achieved a full academic legitimacy.

According to proponents of ‘managerial penology’, it makes very little sense to believe that, after having ‘done time’ in jail, criminals would be able to reconsider their anti-social behavior and to reintegrate into society, simply because it is not the poverty, lack of education, or the exposal to racism, that turns one into a criminal, but rather the particulars of his or her biological constitution.

As Feeley and Simon (1992) had put it in their article: “The new penology is neither about punishing nor about rehabilitating individuals. It is about identifying and managing unruly groups. It is concerned with the rationality, not of individual behavior nor even of community organization, but of managerial processes. Its goal is not to eliminate crime but to make it tolerable through systemic coordination” (p. 452).

Apparently, for individuals as Feeley and Simon, it is perfectly clear that the reason why representatives of racial minorities are more likely than Whites to be stopped and searched by cops, for seemingly nor reason, is that they are more predisposed towards committing crimes – plain and simple.

In their book Heumann and Cassak (2003) had made a good point, while implying that one’s tendency to refer to racial profiling as morally despicable or as entirely legitimate and valid crime-combating practice, depends on a perspective from which one chooses to discuss the issue: “We learned that profiling was, and is, a laudable police practice, some­thing quite different from the ‘profiling’ of popular dis­course.

A ‘profiler’ is, in fact, a skilled law enforcement offi­cer trained in drawing inferences about wrongdoers in a patterned series of cases” (p. 5). The fact that different people seem to adopt often diametrically opposite views on racial profiling, suggests that the public outcry, directed against legitimization of this policy, is discourse-related.

In other words, it is namely because, during the course of last twenty-thirty years, citizens in Western countries were made to believe in the beneficence of ‘multiculturalism’ and ‘political correctness’, which explains why many of these citizens tend to think of racial profiling as something utterly horrible.

Yet, such their attitude can the least referred to as rationally motivated – after having been instilled with the irrational belief in people’s equality, most citizens find it emotionally uncomfortable to reconsider many of their discourse-related opinions, based upon such a belief.

This; however, does not mean that their negative opinions, in regards to the subject matter, cannot be challenged – just as it has always been the case, throughout the course of human history, while opposing science, the irrationally defined ‘morality’ simply does not stand a chance, whatsoever.

And, it is namely the revolutionary breakthroughs in the fields of genetics, medicine and I.T. that had taken place during the course of last century (particularly during the course of last few decades), upon which the proponents of racial profiling base their arguments. In the next part of our paper, we will explore this idea at length.

In 1895, the founder of Positivist Criminology Cesare Lombroso had published his famous book L’Homme Criminel (Criminal Man), in which he had proven beyond any reasonable doubt that individual’s likelihood to commit especially horrendous criminal acts is being reflected by the extent of such individual’s anthropological atavism.

According to Lombroso, the more physical appearance of a particular individual is being affected by anthropological atavism, the more such an individual would be likely to act as a slave to its animalistic urges, extrapolated in his or her tendency to act as ‘natural born criminal’: “Atavism remains one of the most constant characteristics of the born criminal, in spite of, or rather together with pathology.

Many of the characteristics of primitive man are also commonly found in the born criminal, including low, sloping foreheads, overdeveloped sinuses, overdevelopment of jaws and cheekbones, prognathism, oblique and large eye sockets, dark skin” (2006, p. 222).

The reason why bearers of atavistic traits appear being genetically predisposed towards committing crime is that their biological underdevelopment prevents them from being able to suppress their animalistic urges while living as the members of a society ruled by law. On evolutionary ladder, such individuals are being placed in the middle between the species of primates and the species of homo sapiens.

It is perfectly understandable that, in society where the policy of multiculturalism enjoys an official status, and where politically active citizens are being often accused of uttering ‘hate speech’, while simply articulating their opinions publically, there are simply no objectively existing preconditions for law enforcement agencies to officially incorporate Lombroso’s theory as an integral part of deployed investigative techniques.

However, this does not make the methodology of Positivist Criminology less valid, especially in the light of recent genetics-related scientific discoveries. As it was pointed out by Williams (2007): “He (Lombroso) first hypothesized that the tendency to commit crime was mirrored in the physical characteristics, or physiognomy, of the criminal, including such factors as race and color…

As gene research advances, some behavioural traits that were designated as learned are being cast into doubt and reclassified as innate” (Humanities & Social Sciences).

This is exactly the reason why, despite the fact that the theory of Positivist Criminology is still being officially regarded as ‘non-scientific’, police officers do resort to its utilization, especially in times when society applies an additional pressure upon them to increase the effectiveness of their crime-combating strategies.

For example, during the course of a few days, before the opening of Moscow Olympics in 1982, Moscow’s police had simply gathered up city’s residents with clearly defined atavistic traits about their appearance and had sent them outside of the city, for duration of Olympic Games. As a result, not a single incident of criminal activity has been reported in this city of eight millions, while the Games were on.

Therefore, the practice of racial profiling should actually be referred to as the practice of ‘atavistic profiling’ – in the eyes of a police officer, it makes very little difference whether the potential suspect is Black or White, but only whether suspect’s physical appearance radiates viciousness.

The fact that the representatives of racial minorities are more likely to complain about being ‘profiled’ than Whites, has nothing to do with police’s racialist maliciousness, but rather with ‘ethnically unique’ citizens’ lessened value as representatives of homo sapiens specie. Despite seeming inappropriateness of an earlier statement, its legitimacy can be proven with ease.

For example, we are all aware of what happened to former Europe’s colonies in Africa, after these colonies had shaken off the ‘yoke of White oppression’ – within a matter of decade, after the ‘liberation’, African tribal societies have regressed back to the state of primeval savagery.

As of today, essentially the whole continent of Africa (with probable exception of South Africa and Africa’s Islamic states) has been effectively reduced into the battleground for tribal war of ‘everybody against everybody’. And, it is namely the raging epidemic of gang-rape, which defines the criminological realities in today’s Africa.

In her article, Moore (2005) states: “According to estimated figures, sixty children are raped every day in South Africa. Children under eighteen years of age represent an estimated 40% of South African rape victims… It is a popular myth in AIDS-ravaged South Africa that having sex with a virgin cures the disease” (p. 1469).

While being confronted with unsightly realities of post-colonial Africa, liberally minded Western social scientists continue to blame just about everything on the ‘legacy of colonial oppression’.

For example, while trying to come up with explanation as to why in today’s South Africa, women are being recommended not to leave their house alone, in her article Moffett (2006) says: “I argue that contemporary sexual violence in South Africa is fuelled by justificatory narratives that are rooted in apartheid practices that legitimated violence by the dominant group against the disempowered” (p. 129).

Nevertheless, despite her article’s superficial sophistication, author had failed at explaining why someone, presumably ‘underpowered’ and ‘hungry’, would think of raping women as such that constitutes his life’s foremost priority?

In order for us to address this question, we will need to make reference to one of the most recent scientific publications that effectively dispels the myth of people’s equality, upon which the critics of racial profiling base their arguments.

In their book I.Q. and the wealth of nations, Lynn and Vanhanen (2002) were able to prove that, the actual reason why Africa’s natives continue to suffer from poverty, while never ceasing to explore their criminal-mindedness by gang-raping women and by indulging in tribal warfare, has nothing to do with the ‘legacy of apartheid’, but with the simple fact that, in terms of intellectual development, most Africa’s natives did not advance too far from their immediate biological predecessors: “I.Q.s appear to be determined by the racial and ethnic make-up of the populations…

The I.Q.s of 96 are typical of Europeans. The countries with lower proportions of Europeans and higher proportions of Native Americans, Blacks, and Mestizos have lower I.Q.s” (p. 63).

According to Lynn and Vanhanen, in such African countries as Equatorial Guinea and Central African Republic, the average rate of citizens’ Intellectual Quotidian (I.Q.) is being estimated as low as 50; whereas, Whites that score lower than 70, while I.Q. tested, are being declared mentally deficient.

And, one’s inability to operate with abstract categories, reflected by his or her particularly low I.Q. score, is nothing but an indication of person’s existential atavism.

Why is it that the perpetrators of particularly violent crimes often have a hard time realizing the sheer wickedness of their criminal behavior? This is because, due to their intellectual primitiveness, most of these criminals do not even understand what the concept of morality stands for, in the first place.

The reason why Medias refer to particularly gruesome crimes as ‘inhuman’, ‘bestial’ and ‘savage’, is that their perpetrators cannot be assumed fully human. The qualitative essence of their existential mode, reflected by the extent of their atavistic criminal-mindedness, is being predetermined by objectively existing biological laws, which apply to people as much as they apply to animals and plants.

For example, dog breeders are well aware of the fact that particularly vicious dogs are always the ones that had been affected by crossbreeding the most. Pit-bulls, famed for their unprovoked attacks on even small children, have been artificially cross-breaded out of genetic pool, associated with thirty different dog pedigrees.

Apparently, the same applies to people – the more they are being affected by racial mongrelization, the more they will be likely to derive pleasure out of indulging in criminally violent behavior. Out of 812 acts of homicide that had taken place in Puerto-Rico, during the course of 2009, only 25 were recognized as having been premeditated.

This explains country police’s utter operational inefficiency in trying to prevent crime – unlike what it is the case among Whites, even a slightest domestic dispute among Puerto-Ricans can unpredictably escalate into a full-scale gunfight.

There is also a sociological aspect to our line of argumentation – apart from the fact that in many instances, people who complain about being ‘racially profiled’ appear ‘natural born criminals’ from anthropological point of view, it is perfectly logical for police officers to treat them with suspicion, on the account of these people being endowed with collectivist mentality alone.

In her article, Mkabela (2005) states: “Most African worldviews emphasize belongingness, connectedness, community participation and people centeredness” (p. 180). In all probability, it never occurred to the author that her characterization of African worldviews could also be used to define the subtleties of how people from Third World address life’s challenges, in general.

Unlike what it is the case with urbanized Whites, known for their intellectual openness and their ability to adjust their behavior to the demands of impersonal law, representatives of racial minorities in Western countries consciously choose in favor of essentially tribal mode of existence, while never ceasing to manifest the strength of their primitive religiosity, whenever opportunity presents itself.

Immediately, after having arrived to Western countries, instead of trying to integrate into the host society, ‘ethnically unique’ immigrants embark upon creation of their own societies within the society.

In its turn, this explains why nowadays, every large Western city features its own ethnic ‘ghettos’, where residents feel comparatively safe while indulging in criminal behavior – after all, cops try not to enter these ‘ghettos’, even while being called upon, in order not to provoke racial riots.

It appears that many representatives of racial minorities simply do not realize a simple fact that that the strength of their tribal ‘belongingness’ and ‘connectedness’, is being counter-proportionate to their ability to function as productive members of post-industrial urban societies.

In the eyes of tribally minded individual, the notions of Western civil and criminal laws have no significance, simply because such an individual lives by his own tribal laws, the most important of which are: make babies, invite more relatives to come to the country, and demand even more individual rights and privileges.

And, people who prefer observing their own tribal/religious laws, as opposed to observing Western secular and impersonal laws, are best described as criminals-in-making, because they perceive the very concept of civil law as something utterly alien to the workings of their mentality.

This is why, upon being exposed to the sight of ‘ethnically unique’ person, with the towel wrapped around his head, police officers would be naturally inclined to ask such an individual for I.D., especially if encountering him at the airport or another public place.

Therefore, under no circumstances should we refer to police officers’ tendency to utilize racial profiling as the indication of their professional unfitness – one the contrary, the more they appear being comfortable with the concept, the better would be their chances to attain professional excellence.

Apparently, police officers’ tendency to treat representatives of racial minorities with suspicion is not an indication of their irrational biasness towards the people of color, but rather an indication of their psychological adequateness.

After all, we do not accuse people who refuse to jump in the lake filled with hungry crocodiles of being ‘biased’ against the reptiles. Similarly, we cannot be accusing cops for being extra vigilant, while dealing with people whose biological/mental constitution makes them predisposed towards committing crime, without giving any seconds thoughts, whatsoever.

Thus, the fact that a variety of strongly negative connotations is being currently ascribed to the policy of racial profiling, should be discussed as yet another proof that the process of designing socio-political policies in America continues to be the least observant of the notion of sanity.

For example, just as acquittal of O.J. Simpson in 1995 had shown, in today’s America it is quite possible for ‘ethnically unique’ perpetrator of a violent crime to walk out of the courtroom a free man, if his or her defenders prove that the element of racial profiling did play part in how investigators proceeded with executing their professional duties.

During the course of L.A. racial riots in 1992, police officers had been given an unofficial order not to get involved, even in time when Whites were dragged out of their cars and killed on the spot by the raging mobs of Blacks, in front of cops’ very eyes.

In the aftermath of hurricane Katrina that had struck New Orleans in 2005, city’s White residents had suddenly realized that they could only rely upon themselves, when it came to defending their property from hordes of looting Blacks – cops simply would not get involved, while being terribly afraid of losing their jobs, on account of ‘racial profiling’ accusations.

It appears that, just as it is being the case with racism/multiculturalism related discourse, racial-profiling related discourse is best discussed in terms of psychiatry. At first, ‘progressive’ policy-makers create preconditions for criminally minded people from Third World, affected by anthropological and intellectual atavism, to be able to immigrate to America.

After that, the same policy-makers occupy themselves with trying to figure out how newly arrived immigrants’ inborn criminal mindedness can be addressed, without references being make to the specifics of these people’s racial affiliation. As a popular saying goes – when God decides to punish people, he deprives them of their ability to think logically.

It is needless to mention, of course, that while trying to increase the levels of interracial tolerance in American society, the neo-Marxian proponents of a welfare state (which they envision as a multicultural utopia, where citizens’ celebrate diversity’ 24/7), never cease preferring to reside in White suburbia, on the account of suburbia’s schools being ‘better’ and streets being ‘safer’.

Therefore, in order for these people to reconsider their views on racial profiling, they would have to be prompted to take a leisurely stroll along the street in just about any ethnic ‘ghetto’, after it gets dark.

The earlier articulated arguments point to the fact that, within the contextual framework of discourse about racial profiling, there can be only two sides: the side of sanity and the side multiculturalism-related insanity. In its turn, this explains an utter methodological inconsistency in how law enforcement agencies go about ensuring citizens’ safety.

On one hand, many spokespersons for these agencies never get tired defending the appropriateness of a practice of taking tubes with toothpaste away from the passengers, before they board planes, regardless of passengers’ ethnic affiliation.

But on another hand, they simultaneously speak in favor of allowing specific categories of citizens to be exempted from the law, due to these citizens’ inability to even understand what the concept of secular and impersonal law is all about.

For example, during the course of 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Sikh-Canadians were allowed to carry huge daggers in public, as these people’s lawyers had proven that forbidding Sikh-Canadians to carry illegal knives in public would constitute the violation of their civil rights.

In his article, Kaur (2009) states: “Sikhs will be able to carry a kirpan (Sikh article of faith), to Olympic events if they adhere to a number of conditions, the Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit has announced. ISU doesn’t expect the religious item will pose an additional risk at venues” (Global Sikh News). To paraphrase George Orwell – all people are equal, but some people are more equal than the others are.

As we have illustrated in the earlier parts of this paper, the policy of racial profiling is scientifically legitimate, even though people who lack education would most definitely think otherwise. In a similar manner, during the course of 19th century, uneducated people thought of a practice of vaccination as ‘morally wicked’.

Yet, the practical implementation of this policy in the realm of public health care had helped saving millions of lives.

Given the fact that many historical parallels could be drawn between the policy of enforced vaccination and the policy of racial profiling (both policies continue to be actively resisted by self-proclaimed ‘experts on morality’), it would not be much of an exaggeration to suggest that the full implementation of policy of racial profiling in the realm of American jurisprudence, would result in drastic improvement of criminological situation in this country.

There is only one barrier on the way of such implementation – the fact that many Americans continue to profess the values of multiculturalism as representing an undeniable truth-value.

However, there are good reasons to believe that it is only the matter of time, before America would follow the footsteps of Switzerland and Germany, where policy-makers had proven themselves responsible enough to end the insanity of multiculturalism, at least in conceptual sense of this word.

And, once the hawks of multiculturalism are being stripped of their governmental offices, there would be very little resistance on the way of racial profiling full legitimization. As it happened many times, throughout the course of history, once science triumphs over ‘morality’ and artificially induced ‘tolerance’, the society where it happened automatically becomes much more tolerant and moral.

References

Anwar, S. & Fang, H. (2006). An alternative test of racial prejudice in motor vehicle searches: Theory and evidence. The American Economic Review 96(1), 127-151.

Banks, R. (2001). Race-based suspect selection and colorblind equal protection doctrine and discourse. UCLA Law Review 48(2), 1075-124.

Feeley, M. & Simon, J. (1992). The new penology: Notes on the emerging strategy of corrections and its implications, Criminology 30(4), 449–474.

Hernandez-Murillo, R. & Knowles, J. (2004). Racial profiling or racist policing? International Economic Review 45(3), 959-989.

Heumann, M. & Cassak, L. (2003). Good cop, bad cop: Racial profiling and competing views of justice in America. Studies in crime and punishment. New York: Peter Lang.

Hulme, D. (1990). The political Olympics: Moscow, Afghanistan, and the 1980 U.S. boycott. New York, Praeger.

Hurwitz, J. & Peffley, M. (2005). Explaining the great racial divide: Perceptions of fairness in the U.S. criminal justice system. The Journal of Politics 67(3), 762- 783.

Kaur, A. (2009). Sikh can carry kirpans to Olympics events in Canada. Global Sikh News. Web.

Lombroso, C. (1911) 2006. Criminal man. Durham: Duke University Press.

Lynn, R. & Vanhanen, T. (2002). IQ and the wealth of nations. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Publishing Group.

Mkabela, Q. (2005). Using Afrocentric method in researching indigenous African culture. Qualitative Report 10(1), 178-189.

Moffett, H. (2006). ‘These women, they force us to rape them’: Rape as narrative of social control in post-apartheid South Africa. Journal of Southern African Studies 32(1), 129-144.

Moore, A. (2005). Endangered species: Examining South Africa’s national rape crisis and its legislative attempt to protect its most vulnerable citizens. Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law 38(5),1469-98.

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (2006). . Web.

Ramirez, D. et al. (2000). A resource guide on racial profiling data col­lection systems: Promising practices and lessons learned. Boston: Northeast­ern University Press.

Risse, M. & Zeckhauser, R. (2004). Racial profiling. Philosophy and Public Affairs 32(2), 131-170.

U.S. Department of Justice. (2009). Criminal Victimization, 2009. Web.

Weaver, M. (2010). . Guardian.co.uk. Web.

Williams, I. (2007). Criminal man rediscovered. Humanities & Social Sciences Online. Web.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Practice and Concept of Racial Profiling." September 20, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/racial-profiling-3/.

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