Negative Influence of Racial Profiling on the American Society

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Introduction

Racial profiling can seriously affect the victims and the targeted racial group. It often creates an eternal feeling of isolation in society as the younger generation of the targeted group grows up with a fixed mentality of dislike for the group which targets them. Racial profiling refers to the selective practice by law enforcement officers to suspect, arrest or incriminate individuals based on their race (Ly, 2021). The vice is practiced across all law enforcement divisions, including the Traffic, Customs, and Border Control, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Criminal Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, among others. For instance, a white traffic police officer might single out only a black or Indian motorist for inspection but ignore fellow white motorists. Racial profiling is a wicked vice that often affects the victims psychologically, socially, and physically, negatively impacting American society’s general wellbeing and coexistence.

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Influence on the institutions

The state institutions are meant to equally serve the citizens without any prejudice, irrespective of one’s skin color or race. When racial profiling manifests in society, people begin to develop a sense of mistrust in the institutions, which can negatively affect their performance (Hetey & Eberhardt, 2018). For instance, an affected individual may not be bothered reporting a crime to law enforcement officers with a perception that the offender might not be subjected to a fair trial. In addition, considering the law enforcement institutions have multiracial officers serving, there is the risk of impartial application of law as racist officers might favor their races. The experience or witness of racial profiling can also severely negatively affect other institutions unrelated to law enforcement. For instance, a teacher who had previously been a victim or a witness of racial profiling might not seed the need to instill in their students the importance of law enforcement agencies.

Effect on economy

Racial profiling can hinder the economic development of individuals, businesses, organizations, and the country in general. When a particular race in society feels negatively targeted by another, the expected reaction would be the victimized race to avoid transacting any business with the other. This practice can occur in various forms, such as avoiding buying or selling products to a particular business or race, snubbing, and participating in the country’s economic issues (Lang & Spitzer, 2020). Community development initiatives supported by enterprises owned by individuals of a perceived oppressive race might also stagnate due to poor racial relationships. Lack of cooperation between law enforcers and the public due to racial prejudice can lead to increased crime rates, thus making investors shy away from the region. Racial profiling at the custom borders can also lead to the favored race taking advantage and sneaking banned items into the country.

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Reduced sense of patriotism

When a particular race feels profiled in their own country, they might lose the spirit of patriotism, especially if the dominant race is the majority. The vice creates a sense of un-belonging and neglect; hence the victims become demoralized in taking pride in their own country (Rutland, 2021). The negative patriotism affects participation in national events such as sports, art exhibitions, and other international activities representing the country. It might also increase the vulnerability of the country’s military defense, considering that service members are usually motivated by the spirit of citizenship. When a given race in the military service suffers racial profiling, they are likely to lose interest in serving the country. Likewise, due to the mixed race in the police service, police officers who feel their race is a target for profiling by their fellow service members might lose interest and morale in their duty, thus negatively affecting the institution.

Psychological, physical, and behavioral effects

Some of the activities to which victims of racial profiling are subjected often leave them with physical and psychological injuries. Besides, the victims might also develop unusual behaviors to conform to the wishes of the victimizers. For instance, if a racist traffic officer usually stops and accuses a motorist of a different race of over-speeding, the motorist might be forced to drive at very low speeds to avoid victimization. This behavioral change can, in turn, lead to the motorist arriving late at their destination. Furthermore, victims of racism can also suffer physical injuries from the law enforcers’ forceful arrests and body searches. These experiences, especially wrongful arrest and conviction, usually have severe psychological effects on the victims or witnesses.

Conclusion

Racial profiling is a wicked vice that often affects the victims psychologically, socially, and physically, negatively impacting American society’s general wellbeing and coexistence. To realize the development of America, law enforcers should practice fairness and equality in all their duties to gain public trust. There is also a need to strengthen the police oversight authorities and impose harsher punishment on law enforcers who practice racial profiling. The public should also be educated on proper channels to report racial profiling, as the same racial officers might still victimize them. The government and the general public, irrespective of race, should stand up against racial profiling to lower its adverse effects on society.

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  1. Hetey, R., & Eberhardt, J. (2018). The Numbers Don’t Speak for Themselves: Racial Disparities and the Persistence of Inequality in the Criminal Justice System. Current Directions In Psychological Science27(3), 183-187. https://doi.org/10.1177/0963721418763931
  2. Lang, K., & Spitzer, A. (2020). Race Discrimination: An Economic Perspective. Journal Of Economic Perspectives34(2), 68-89. https://doi.org/10.1257/jep.34.2.68
  3. Laurencin, C., & Walker, J. (2020). Racial Profiling Is a Public Health and Health Disparities Issue. Journal Of Racial And Ethnic Health Disparities7(3), 393-397. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40615-020-00738-2
  4. Ly, L. (2021). Racial Profiling: Understanding the Practice of Stop-and-Frisk in New York City. Spectra Undergraduate Research Journal1(2). https://doi.org/10.9741/2766-7227.1006
  5. Rutland, P. (2021). Racism and Nationalism. Nationalities Papers50(4), 629-642. https://doi.org/10.1017/nps.2021.60
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