The issue of racial profiling has dominated the news in America especially with the anti-profiling activist putting up a spirited fight against it. With many terming it as a new form of discrimination and work ending it, racial profiling has regarded as detrimental to the criminal justice system of America which has made significant rights towards the institution of liberties of all individuals despite their color or racial attributes. Top on the list to be blamed for perpetrating racial profiling is the law enforcement system which is charged in deploying highway patrols who conduct highway stop which is allegedly done on racial profile during their course of duty. As the question of whether racial profile exists, two scholars have emerged both giving different viewpoints on the issue.in his article, Harris David believes that racial profiling exist and its recipients are the minorities who are arrested due to police abuse of power. On the other hand, Mc Donald Heather cites in his article that racial profiling is a myth and those claiming it presence are simply lacking a benchmark that clearly defines it. In a nutshell, the two scholars prevent numerous arguments that are opposing over this issue. This paper will present these arguments and take a stand over this critical issue that has gained national significance.
According to the article written by Harris, there are numerous cases of racial profiling being done on the American highways which to him displays a sign that the American police abuse power in pursuit of enslavement legacy. Arguing the racial profiling is real, Harris presents numerous arguments as to why he believes that the vice is rife among the law enforcement. Contrary to this believe, Mc Donald point out that the law enforcement are not perpetrating any form of racial profiling but their disproportionate arrests of the minorities are just but a mere coincidence and not a case of racial profiling. These statements form the basis of the works on racial profiling.
Harris believes that racial profiling is a result of rampant use of power by the federal government in attempts to win the war over drugs. This war on drugs he claims target the minorities who are stripped of the unconstitutional rights whenever they are stopped on the highway based on their color. Mc Donald however disagrees over this as he indicates that law enforcement employ tactics that rely on attributes of race to net offenders and thus not necessarily a basis of discrimination. Additionally, Mc Donald posits that the call for police to contain drugs dealers has further allowed for more searches and arrest of minorities which have received praise some areas like Camden and Trenton from the minorities.
Harris contented that law enforcement are doing more to get drugs and weapons from the minorities that they employ racial profiles to assists them in doing so. This to him explains why the police across the states employ discretionary power on minorities whose right are abused he claims. To Mc Donald this notion arise due to the lack of suitable benchmark that defines racial profiling in the context of minority stops nevertheless, he point out the black were more likely to be drunk or having drugs that white counter parts. As MC Donald puts it, this forms the basis of police narrowing on minorities to curb crime but not to discriminate. Mc Donald faults the idea that minorities are targeted as he cites that the FBI data also reveal a high percentage of blacks being victims and perpetrators of drug related crime.
Mc Donald asserts that the war on drugs is not a war based on racial profiling, but the effforts of law enforcement are concentrated on dealers who are often found in 129th Street in Harlem, a residence made up of minorities. In his case he believes that law enforcement decision to search such areas may be based on areas intelligence and not race. Harris on th other hand believes that fight against crime come top on the list yet it should not warrant the violation of people rights through stops. On this basis, Harris believes that police should make arrest when a wrong action is done and not on suspicion. Contrary to this, Mc Donald cites that police have known offenders to have certain attributes which just raises the suspicion of police. Summing up the two scholars, Harris believes that the ending racial profiling will ensure that minorities are not victimized by police. MC Donald however believes that whatever is termed as racial profiling is but a myth and collection of data on disproportionate arrest of minorities might lead to a slack on enforcement policies.
Some arguments raised by the authors of the articles lack credibility while others do. The idea raised by Harris that stopping of minorities while driving constitute racial profiling is wrong and not in line with Whren vs. Unites States case of 1996. This ruling allowed the police of stopping of any motorist on account of any suspicion and thus not a violations of individual liberty (Kamalu et al. 15). Nonetheless, some law enforcers have been known to know to stop minorities on the basis of color rather than on any suspicion as required with statistics revealing wide disparities in treatment of blacks and while by law enforcements thus perpetrating racial profiling contrary Mc Donald assertion (Henry and Tator 2).
The assertion by Harris that police are known to narrow more on minorities as compared to the while is misplaced and lacks credibility. With detailed data indicating involvement of minorities like Blacks and Hispanic in drug related offences, it is absolutely correct to narrow down the fight over crime to such areas but not necessarily because of one color. This to me provides a tactical way of fighting crime and not a form of discrimination as mentioned by Harris. Additionally, I agree with Mc Donald that there lacks a standard to outline what racial profiling is and what it is not which has made the testing of racial profiling unmanageable (Grogger and Ridgeway 878). Harris notion that police intensity searches on the minorities however is true owing to the stereotypes of some officers however; this should not be a valid reason of stopping any minority driving on the highway just because of the color.