Racial Profiling And African American Males Criminology Essay

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Racial Profiling and African American Males

Racial profiling can be defined as discriminatory activities by law enforcing agents for aiming at particular individuals for suspicions of being a criminal based on the personal skin color, religion, ethnicity or even national origin. Basically, racial profiling as practiced the police force is the dependant don a group of traits that are believed to be associated with crime. An example of racial profiling is the use of race in the determination of which driver to stop just for minor traffic violations.

This is commonly referred to as "driving black or brown." (Marshall, 2004) Racial profiling does not mean the practice of pursuing a suspect by a law enforcing agent, in which particular description of the suspect include either race or ethnicity together with other identifying factors. Law enforcing agent under this context has been defined as an individual who is acting in a policing capacity for either public interest or even private benefits or both. In most cases, such individuals include security guards at the store department, airport security agents, and police officers among others, (American Civil Liberties Union, 2005).

Racial profiling has been, and according to the present trend, it will continue being much problematic in the United States. A lot of people believe that racial profiling has become more prevalent in the current times, but the reality is that, this matter has been part and parcel of the U.S society from the slavery times. Nevertheless, African American Male, have been the most affected by this problem, this is true particularly in larger cities like New York and Los Angels cities. However, major concern with the act is that, the practice is becoming huge problem within the department of police.

In recent times, it has been reported that, the police officers are carrying out more traffic stops on African American Males than any other racial group in the United States. This is for the reason that most police officers believe that, African American male has higher chances of involving in some sort of criminal activities. Thus racial profiling is illegal in the United States of America. But, police officer has a right of has a right of stopping any motorist and search his /her vehicle, if by any case, the police officer feels that, the individual in question is withholding illegal weapons and or even drug.

Studies have shown that, African American males are the main victims of racial profiling in the U.S. in addition; African American males also believe that they are the key racial profiling victims. For instance, research on the topic in Washington indicated that around 50% of the African American males believe that they have been in one way or the other found them in a racial profiling situation. It has been indicated that, the practice does not take place in cities alone, but anywhere that African-American males do live, work or even traverse. Regardless of the location, may it be in cities rural communities. As a result, they usually face very close scrutiny by law enforcing agents, as compared to their counterparts who appear to be white.

At different junctures, and location, African American males were and still remain singled out and for harassment. Something much interesting is that, racial profiling is not just on black male youngsters in cities with gangster or at times with rapper, demeanor or even appearance; the practice is applied in a manner that does not discriminate African American males no matter their economic strata. African American males who have dignities like the educators, news reporters, sports individuals, lawyers and even business executives, are also stopped, questioned and even humiliated by law enforcing officers. This is just based on the fact that, they have black skin and are male.

It has even gone to an extent where, done thousands dollar Armani suits does not shield protect them from being looked upon as drug dealing thugs. It has been shown that, negative stereotypical biases of the African American males, overshadow anything good that shows that they are law a bidding citizens. Min real sense, according to the eyes of many law enforcing agents, American African male who is drives a Mercedes Benz project the presumption of illegal practices, other than the presumption that the guy is a hardworking citizen.

Stereotypical Biases Effects on African American Males

The stereotypical biasness directed towards African American males, by law enforcing officials, has lead to a disproportionate number of African American males being stopped at different places and searched thoroughly. It has been assumed by many law enforcing officers that, African American males are mostly involved in criminal practices, particularly drug dealing. Such like sentiments by law enforcing agents, has become much evident when the Chief of New Jersey troopers defended racial profiling by saying that, most minorities in the state were being involved in cocaine and Marijuana trafficking.

As a result, it is much obvious that, if law enforcing officers concentrate on enforcing drug laws towards African American males, and at the same time ignore the whites based on the issue of stereotypical biasness, African males will then be disproportionately stopped and searched. As a result, it will mean that among the U.S population, African American males are the only segment involved in criminal drug practices. In turn the available statistics retrieved from one of the jurisdiction, tend to prove the fact that, though there is racial profiling on the African American, available data shows that most are involved, hence perpetuating the discriminatory conduct.

By just mere out look, walking talking, and dressing mode of most African American males, they tent to be viewed negatively by many white individuals in America. In addition, African American male who travels through white neighborhoods, in most cases finds themselves stopped and checked by law enforcing officials and even investigated by similar individuals. African American males who drive foreign sports or luxury cars, have higher hence of being stopped and searched by law enforcing individuals, after suspecting them for drug trafficking, as well as car theft. Due to discriminatory stops, most African American males have higher chances of being arrested. The negative picture of this group, on top of stereotypical biasness directed towards this group, its members might automatically be stopped and arrested. Because of such biasness and disproportionate practices, law enforcing agents make assumption that, every African American man is a threat to them and to the society as a whole.

Racial profiling as a result of stereotypical biasness also a relation to high incarceration rate African American man. This is particularly applies to these between the age of 20 and 39 years. In addition, the process of targeting minorities for traffic stops and searches, particularly African American along with the Hispanic males, might enhance their sentence due to other crimes, this particularly happen if trafficking violations are considered in the determination of their penalties. By bad lack, the killing of most African American males by law enforcing officials might have a direct correlation to the African American percentage that is being stopped.

Selective Enforcement

For round 30 years ago, the Supreme Court in U.S, in Terry V Ohio, placed a limitation on the capability of law enforcing officials to stop and search people with no reasonable suspicion, that such like individuals were engaged in criminal practices. With this, the court meant that, reasonable suspicions must be rooted in something stronger, other than just "inchoate and un-particularized suspicion or 'hunch." (Marshall, 2004) On top of this, the court held U.S. Vs Sokolow that "police conduct carried out solely on the basis of imprecise stereotypes of what criminals look like or on the basis of irreverent personal characteristics such as race," (American Civil Liberties Union, 2005) is against the Fourth amendments. The law enforcing forces are supposed to have facts that can be categorized as specific and articulate.

Even if such like limitations are part of jurisprudence of criminal justice, and their tests have been repeatedly in Courts, law enforcing officials have been using racial profiling to routinely stop and search African Americans men. Most of them alleges that the search along with seizure fourth Amendments rights, as an effect, the seized prove has to be suppressed at trial. Since the investigatory standard does not need probable reasons, other than reasonable suspicion, consistently, courts have denied suppression of such proves. The usage of racial profiling in selective public law enforcement is mostly seen in traffic stops by the law enforcing officers.

Nevertheless, the act can be humiliating as well as frightening for anybody, particularly African American Males, who might be fearful for imminent harm the police. For instance, Flowers Vs Fiore, an African American man motorist, who alleged that, law enforcing officials stopped, handcuffed, forced him to his knees, and searched his car. But the officers claimed that, some one called them and told them that, he had received a call from someone who claimed that, he had send some two black guys with guns, after a short period of time, Flowers was seen driving past the house of the caller. Such like searches though humiliating, but are seen by courts as being reasonable. However, in most cases, African American male have been treated in this manner by law enforcing officials, "without conscious of, or concerns about their constitutional rights." (Marshall, 2004)

In the past half a decade, different studies have supported the conclusion that states that drivers' race and color, have been the reason for state law enforcing officials to stop and make search in cars that are being driven by African American males. The studies have concluded that, a large number of minorities are being disproportionately treated as compared with their white counterparts. Such like instances, have supported the suspicions that are held by African American male, that the occurrences of their rendezvous with the police has not been a matter of probability, but due to their skin color that is dark, as well as their gender.

Though police officials have alleged that, there has been legitimate reason African American males' stoppages, which in real sense, is a discrimination pretext. For instance, there have been instances where police officers have used the "state car seat belt law as a pretext to stop African-American males who may not use seat belts to the extent of white motorists." (Kevin,2000) In addition officers have used signal failure when changing lanes, or even close following, as reasons for stopping, and ultimately searching.

It is much ironic to notice that, the act of racial profiling has been used by police officers, who are white, to stop and search their counterpart who happens to be African American male police officers who are not on duty. In an addition, proves have shown that, "African-American male officers who refuse to engage in racial profiling may also face reprisal, including termination." (Marshall, 2004) The most shocking thing is the, white police officers do pretend that they do not know the African American male counterpart officers. The continuous prospect of African American drivers being stopped for minor traffic offenses and their consent to their car's search, has become part and parcel of their driving preparations. In most cases, African American Males and Hispanic who are stopped on the ground of reasonable suspicions, on the violation of traffic laws, are always lined up along the highways, searched and humiliated with no probable cause. Such like practices need to be considered as being a violation of their rights. In addition, if the law enforcing officer detains motorist longer than as required, it will be good to determine if the traffic violation has occurred, (Richard & Huffstutter, 2005).

On the other hand, it is much "by bad lack, the When decision can be compared with the Supreme Court's decision in Dred Scott v. Sanford." (Kevin, 2000) This is based on the fact that, the decisions that were made during Dred Scot, led to African Americans being denial their constitutional rights as the citizens in the United States. Though the cases are separated by a round 100 years a part, the effects of Whren on African American males, might be similar to these impacted by Dred Scot. During Dred Scot time, "the judge Taney stated that a "[black man] had no rights which the white man was bound to respect." (Marshall, 2004)Concerning the Whren's case, the decision of the United States Supreme Court, raises many questions that tries to answer the broad question of whether African American male in real sense have particular constitutional rights.

This is based on the fact that, it the decision of the Supreme Court legitimized the usage of racial profiling by law enforcing agents alike the police. Under these case, two African American males, were driving a pathfinder truck with temporary license plates, the plainclothes vice-squared perused them , after the driver failed to failed to give turning signal, and sped off with a speed limited that was considered unreasonable. After the driver stopping at a red light, the driver's door was approached by the police officer. At the door, the officer saw two large plastic bags, of what looked similar to crack cocaine in the hands of the driver. The two individuals were arrested and charged with the violation of various federal drug laws subsequently.

The stop and seizure of drugs legality were challenged by the petitioners. "The district court denied the suppression motion and they were convicted." (Kevin, 2000) But the convictions were a firmed by the Court of Appeal. After the review of Fourth amendment cases, it was stated by the amendment court that, the cases foreclose any argument that sensibleness of traffic stops relays on the involved individual's officer's actual motivation. Though the court agreed with the petitioners that, the selective enforcement of the law based on factors like is prohibited by the constitution, but the basis of the constitutionality to intentionally object the discriminatory law application, is just equal to the clause of protection, other than the Fourth Amendment analysis. In normal probable-cause, the subjective intentions have no significance in the analysis of the fourth analysis.

The decision of Whren sanctions law enforcing officers to stop, question and search motorists, supposedly for a violation of insignificant traffic laws, and then charge them with other crimes that look serous, even when they lack reasonable cause of suspecting that the individual took part in the felony. "It is irrelevant that the officer may have an "ulterior motive" or had "subjective intention" when making the stop." (Kevin,2000) Even when it is much difficult to provide evidence, other than showing that the real was reason that led to the search and arrest i8s rooted on stereotypical biasness, that an African American male has taken part in illegal drug practices. In addition to this case, there have been other cases where the judge has concurred with the opinion of denying the motions of suppressing the evidences that were seized at the stop and search, (Richard & Huffstutter, 2005).

. Another surprising thing is that, though the law prohibits law enforcing agents from presumptively terming others as criminals due to their race, nevertheless, "Nevertheless, African-American males who travel by plane or other modes of transportation may automatically be suspected of engaging in illegal activities solely based on the color of there skin." (Kevin, 2000)


It is true that most African American males have continued to being the victims of racial profiling activities, even with new safeguards regulations that have been put in place by the states as well as the federal law enforcing organizations. The selective enforcement is far much rooted on the stereotypical biasness that has been directed at African American male individuals. A part from all these, there is need to prohibit and provide punishments to those law enforcing officers, who still engages in such a discriminatory conduct.

This will in one way or the other save African American Males from humiliations and frightening situations. By bad lack, African American Males unlike their counterparts who happen to be whites, the blacks lack the political clout to pressurize the congress, as well as other governmental officials, to provide a response to racial profiling on African American males along with other minorities like the Hispanic individuals. In addition, in one way or the other, the courts have failed in safeguarding their constitutional in traveling without being afraid of being toped, searched and arrested by the law enforcing agents on their race and gender grounds, while pretending that, the reason is genuine.