Racial Profiling within Policing

Q1. Are some motorists discriminated on the grounds of their race?

As Makarios & Alpart observed in “Differential Suspicion, Theory Specification and Gender Effects in the Traffic Stop context” the police harass non-white motorists more than they did harass the white motorists whenever they were carrying out interrogation. The reason this happens is because the police, and indeed society as a whole associates crime with the non-white segment of the population. This has led to complains from the African America community who say that many a times; police stop them for no apparent reason and proceed to frisk and harass them without the courtesy of explaining why they are doing so.

What remains clear is that no empirical evidence is available to either confirm or deny these claims. Even Makairos & Alpert based their inference on arbitrary observations. It is therefore important to carry out an experiment to get the real facts behind the story.

Q2.Terrorism is always associated with Islam. Are all Muslims terrorists?

Belein explains in Racial Profiling how a research was done on a number of Muslims to find out whether all Muslims are terrorists. The research established that ninety nine percent of all terrorist were either from Middle East or South Asia. It was also observed that all of the terrorists that were studied were of the Islamic faith. But even more important is the fact that there was a percentage of one indicating that at least one percent of the terrorists are non-Muslims.

More importantly, the fact that 99% of all terrorists are Muslims does not lead to the conclusion that all Muslims are terrorists; In fact it is only a small percentage of the Muslims that subscribe to radical Islam which teaches and practices terrorism. There is a need to examine this subject more conclusively since many Muslims face discrimination as they are perceived to be terrorists even though most of them are innocent.

Q3. Are African American pedestrians more likely to be criminals?

The issue of racial profiling was subjected to study as Wu reports in “Differential Suspicion, Theory Specification and Gender Effects in the Traffic Stop context” The paper documents the research findings of a research conducted in New York on how the police handled pedestrians. The research wanted to find out whether it was factual that police were harsher in dealing with non-white pedestrians as opposed to their white counterparts. The researchers also wanted to establish whether police had bias in stopping pedestrians for questioning.

It was found that 89% of all the people that were stopped by the police were of the African American race.  The non-whites were also harassed by the police who suspected them of various crimes like drug trafficking and drunkenness.  What remains to be established is why the police tend to believe that the African Americans are more likely to engage in crime as opposed t the whites. Is it merely racial prejudice or are the police following an established pattern in apprehending suspects?

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