The Instigator
repete21
Pro (for)
Winning
32 Points
The Contender
pmagyar
Con (against)
Losing
30 Points

Police Profiling is a good thing.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/22/2008 Category: Society
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 13,257 times Debate No: 3748
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (14)

 

repete21

Pro

I believe that police profiling is not a bad thing, and back my belief with numerous reasons.

For this debate we will go by this definition of police profiling - The use of demographics and statistics by law enforcement to deter, prevent, and apprehend criminals.

Police profiling is effective; Police profiling is a very effective way of catching criminals and preventing crime, and allows the police to focus on areas where crime is high, and needs to be prevented.

Racial Profiling isn't racist; Whether black, white, or hispanic, a criminal is a criminal, and if more black people than hispanics commit crime, the police should focus do their duty which is to protect citizens, and make attempts to stop crime, so if the black people commit the crime, stop the black people, if the white people are the majority of criminals, stop the white people. To say that racial profiling is bad is like saying that high crime areas should be treated the same as crime free areas, and puts the lives of citizens at risk.

-I am sorry if this seems at all racist, it is simply meant to justify what our law enforcement officers do to protect us
pmagyar

Con

Pro says "Police profiling is effective; Police profiling is a very effective way of catching criminals and preventing crime, and allows the police to focus on areas where crime is high, and needs to be prevented."

Upon what evidence is this based? This isn't an argument, it's nothing more than an assertion that is baseless. If you want to make a claim you need to have actual reasons why that claim is true to back them up.

Pro says "Racial Profiling isn't racist; Whether black, white, or hispanic, a criminal is a criminal, and if more black people than hispanics commit crime, the police should focus do their duty which is to protect citizens, and make attempts to stop crime, so if the black people commit the crime, stop the black people, if the white people are the majority of criminals, stop the white people. To say that racial profiling is bad is like saying that high crime areas should be treated the same as crime free areas, and puts the lives of citizens at risk."

The American Heritage dictionary defines racism as "Discrimination or prejudice based on race." That is PRECISELY what the police profiling is. Im not arguing that if a person who is robbed says the individual who robbed them was a black male that the police should look for anyone other than a black male for the crime. But that is not profiling, it is not based on demographics or statistics, it is based upon specific information about the specific individual who committed the crime.

Racism is a horrible dehumanizing practice. Patricia Williams, (Associate Professor of Law, The City University of New York Law School at Queens College. University of Miami Law Review. September 1987) explains "The attempt to split bias from violence has been this society's most enduring and fatal rationalization. Prejudice does hurt, however, just as the absence of prejudice can nourish and shelter. Discrimination can repel and vilify, ostracize and alienate…a concept of "self" is a way of experiencing the other, ritualistically sharing the other's essence, and cherishing it. In our culture, seeing and feeling the dimension of harm that results from separating self from "other" requires more work. Very little in our language or our culture encourages or reinforces any attempt to look at others as part of ourselves…This structure of thought is complicated by the fact that the distancing does not stop with the separation of the white self from the black other. In addition, the cultural domination of blacks by whites means that the black self is placed at a distance even from itself…blacks are conditioned from infancy to see in themselves only what others who despise them see…our culture constructs some, but not all, selves to be the servants of others. Thus, some "I's" are defined as "your servant," some as "your master." The struggle for the self becomes not a true mirroring of self-in-other, but rather a hierarchically-inspired series of distortions, where some serve without ever being served, some master without ever being mastered, and almost everyone hides from this vernacular domination by clinging to the legally official definition of "I" as meaning "your equal." In such an environment, relinquishing the power of individual ethical judgment to a collective ideal risks psychic violence, an obliteration of the self through domination by an all powerful other…What links child abuse, the mistreatment of women, and racism is the massive external intrusion into psyche that dominating powers impose to keep the self from ever fully seeing itself…The self becomes subservient to the other, with no reciprocity, and the other becomes a whimsical master…Caught in conversations like this, blacks as well as whites will feel keenly and pressingly circumscribed. Perhaps most people never intend to be racist, oppressive, or insulting. Nevertheless…the unintentional exile of individuals as well as races may be quietly accomplished."

By saying that profiling is acceptable, you make racist practices seem more acceptable not only to police, but also to the general public as well. You entrench that racism not just in hearts and minds, but in the very systems of justice that are meant to be unbiased and colorblind.

Here is an example of police profiling in action: A "well-dressed young African-American man driving his Ford Explorer on I-75 sees the blue lights of the Georgia State Patrol car behind him. The officer pulls behind the sport utility vehicle and the young man's heart begins to sink. He is on his way to Atlanta for a job interview. The stop, ostensibly for speeding, should not take long, he reasons, as the highway patrol officer walks cautiously toward the Explorer. But instead of simply asking for a driver's license and writing a speeding ticket, the trooper calls for backup. Another trooper soon arrives, his blue lights flashing as well. The young man is told to leave his vehicle, as the troopers announce their intention to search it. "Hey, where did you get the money for something like this?" one trooper asks mockingly while he starts the process of going through every inch of the Explorer. Soon, an officer pulls off an inside door panel. More dismantling of the vehicle follows. They say they are looking for drugs, but in the end find nothing. After ticketing the driver for speeding, the two officers casually drive off. Sitting in his now-trashed SUV, the young man weeps in his anger and humiliation."

I ask the Pro to show how this is in any way a good thing or an effective us of law enforcements time.

From http://www.reason.com...
"the use of class probability in police investigations is correctly regarded with extreme suspicion, as it violates a basic principle of justice: The legal system should treat all citizens equally, until there is specific, credible evidence that they have committed a crime. In the cases we've been discussing, we can say that the odds that any particular young black or Hispanic man will be hassled by the police are much higher than for a white man who, aside from his race, is demographically indistinguishable from him."

Here are the statistics being referred to:
76 percent of the motorists stopped along a 50-mile stretch of I-95 by Maryland's Special Traffic Interdiction Force (STIF) were black, according to an Associated Press computer analysis of car searches from January through September 1995....Blacks constitute 25 percent of Maryland's population, and 20 percent of Marylanders with driver's licenses." As this story was being written, New Jersey was holding hearings on racial profiling, and one state police investigator testified that 94 percent of the motorists stopped in one town were minorities.
Minorities are not only more likely to be stopped than whites, but they are also often pressured to allow searches of their vehicles, and they are more likely to allow such searches. In March, The New York Times reported that a 1997 investigation by New Jersey police of their own practices found that "turnpike drivers who agreed to have their cars searched by the state police were overwhelmingly black and Hispanic."

The practice of police profiling violates basic tenets of our legal system and the liberties that all Americans are guaranteed. Equality in treatment is supposed to be a cornerstone of our legal system, and police profiling clearly violates that, and promotes racist and discriminatory practices, with no beneficial results.

If a black man or a hispanic man or a white man commits a crime they should be punished for a crime, but police profiling isn't about punishing a specific individual for a specific crime that is being investigated. Instead, they make it a crime to be a minority by disproportionately targeting them with unreasonable searches based on nothing but the color of their skin. That is not what America is about, and is contrary to the ideals of our Justice system.
Debate Round No. 1
repete21

Pro

I'm going to keep this short since it's midnight and it is due soon, sorry I didn't post sooner, I have been very busy.

Since you are so fond of scenarios I'll use one for an example. Imagine that you are the chief of police and you have just been informed that crime rates are out of control, you know from research that white males commit more crimes than black males, would you really just sit around saying, "I have an idea, lets split our forces evenly, and hope that the criminals decide to come to us"? This is what you have proposed, by saying that police profiling is bad.

I would like to remind you that police profiling and how police treat suspects are two different things. A case of harassment, or abuse by a police officer based on race is racism, and has nothing to do with police profiling, which is simply a way of more efficiently deciding who may or may not be a criminal, so all arguments stating that this is an issue are pointless, considering they haven't been linked to the resolution.

I would also like to make note of the fact that the resolution is "Police Profiling is a Good Thing", so unless you believe that all police profiling is bad because black criminals get pulled over more than white criminals I have no further arguments.
pmagyar

Con

There is a big difference between the example I presented and the one that you present, namely that mine actually happened whereas yours is made up. You need to actually provide the evidence that this is true for it to be valid or an argument. Besides that, I'll answer the question the scenario brings up. I wouldn't racially profile and target white people for more traffic stops and searches, or whatever race is shown in the study. Instead, I would increase the number of officers and work to actually solve the crimes that were committed. There is no evidence that your method would have any effect at all. Even if I granted that the study was valid and true, there is still no reason to believe that you would actually be able to solve any more crimes. Perhaps if the officers were to illegally search individuals who fit the category the study says commit more crimes it would do something. Even then, you wont catch more than illegal substances people had on their person, which hardly deals with the more harmful crimes committed in society, such as assaults, robberies, and other violent crimes. You can't prevent them by profiling people.

Pro says "I would like to remind you that police profiling and how police treat suspects are two different things. A case of harassment, or abuse by a police officer based on race is racism, and has nothing to do with police profiling, which is simply a way of more efficiently deciding who may or may not be a criminal, so all arguments stating that this is an issue are pointless, considering they haven't been linked to the resolution." 1. I provided a very clear link into the resolution in my last speech. "The American Heritage dictionary defines racism as "Discrimination or prejudice based on race." That is PRECISELY what the police profiling is." You yourself say that the profiling is based on the race of the individual. Furthermore, the word demographics in the resolution means(American heritage dictionary) "a portion of a population" which would include different races. Discrimination(same source) is "Treatment or consideration based on class or category rather than individual merit." As I said before, that is exactly what police profiling does, it bases treatment of individuals on what category they can be fit into. 2. Police profiling feeds racial discrimination, which you failed to respond to. "By saying that profiling is acceptable, you make racist practices seem more acceptable not only to police, but also to the general public as well. You entrench that racism not just in hearts and minds, but in the very systems of justice that are meant to be unbiased and colorblind."

Pro says "I would also like to make note of the fact that the resolution is "Police Profiling is a Good Thing", so unless you believe that all police profiling is bad because black criminals get pulled over more than white criminals I have no further arguments." I think that is a vast oversimplification of my argument, police profiling is a racist practice, no matter which race is targeted. Racism is a dehumanizing practice, and police profiling only feeds that practice. This is shown not only by the evidence from Patricia Williams, but also the story of the young African-American man who was humiliated because of the practice Pro says is a good thing.

Absent evidence that a practice has any actual benefits in attaining what it is supposed to, in this case a lower crime rate, even the possibility it could be misused is enough to make it a bad practice. In this case it is far more than that, for not only is there no evidence it works, but multiple reasons it is a dehumanizing practice that goes counter to the ideals of our justice system.
Debate Round No. 2
repete21

Pro

First of all, I would like to clear some things up on some definitions because I believe that you have manipulated them to work for you. You give a definition of discrimination, in literal terms, but expect us to use the word in it's standard term, by that definition discrimination isn't a bad thing, for example saying that travel guides are helpful is discrimination, but is not meant to be rude or insulting, and the American Heritage's definition of prejudice "An adverse judgment or opinion formed beforehand or without knowledge or examination of the facts." does not fit the category because the facts are examined which is why the profiling occurs, therefore if you really want to go by exact definitions police profiling can be racist in some cases, but fits your definition of racism in a positive way. You say that because the definition of demographics is "a portion of a population" and that the portion would "include different races", but it could just as easily be the white portion of a population, the male portion of a population, the portion living in the north have of town, etc. and these are the very things police profiling is based on.

You state in your first paragraph that "...hardly deals with the more harmful crimes committed in society, such as assaults, robberies, and other violent crimes. You can't prevent them by profiling people" which is a foolish assumption, people are far less likely to rob a store if they have seen cops around the neighborhood all day, or beat someone if they know the cops will see them, the very presence of police helps to deter crime.

Your last paragraph in reference to my interpretation is seriously flawed, you state that "police profiling is a racist practice" completely ignoring the fact that police profiling can be used to target other portions of a group, and that "Racism is a dehumanizing practice" although I have shown in my first paragraph that by your loose definition racism isn't always bad. I would still like for you to either A-Prove to me that some police profiling is racist in a negative way, and is bad enough to offset any good that comes of police profiling or B- Police profiling is bad regardless of racism.

Below I have listed several pieces of evidence for you to prove that profiling can work.

http://www.ncpc.org... Clearly states that knowing whom is committing a crime can help with prevention, exactly what police profiling does.

http://www.ncjrs.gov... states numerous times that we must look at specific areas and specialize techniques, again, something police profiling does.
pmagyar

Con

Definitions: Ill argue profiling fits under both definitions, discrimination and prejudice. My opponents only argument against profiling fitting discrimination is that by the definition given it's not a bad thing. Ill deal with that later, for he does admit it is discrimination. Prejudice is defined as "An adverse judgment or opinion formed beforehand or without knowledge or examination of the facts." My opponent interprets that to mean that if you have evidence that a certain group of people commit more crime that you have examined the facts. Besides the fact that Pro has yet to present any evidence showing that, it is also a poor interpretation of the definition. When we commonly think of someone acting discriminatorily or as being prejudiced we think of them making a negative judgment about a specific individual because they are a part of a group, and apply that stereotype to that specific individual. Assuming person X committed a crime because they belong to group A is the definition of not examining the facts. To examine the facts you actually gather evidence about the crime, and base who did it on that.

Pro says "You say that because the definition of demographics is "a portion of a population" and that the portion would "include different races", but it could just as easily be the white portion of a population, the male portion of a population, the portion living in the north have of town, etc. and these are the very things police profiling is based on" Sure, though I would disagree that the portion living north of town counts as police profiling, but even if it is that alone does not make it a good thing. It would be just as bad if the discrimination was based on any other race or based on gender, I picked race because that is how this practice actually plays out in reality.

Pro says "You state in your first paragraph that "...hardly deals with the more harmful crimes committed in society, such as assaults, robberies, and other violent crimes. You can't prevent them by profiling people" which is a foolish assumption, people are far less likely to rob a store if they have seen cops around the neighborhood all day, or beat someone if they know the cops will see them, the very presence of police helps to deter crime." In that specific location sure, someone wont rob the bank the cops are sitting in front of, but if they plan on committing the crime they will go rob the bank across town that they aren't watching. This is a claim that requires evidence to back it up, and yet none is actually provided by the Pro(copying a link of a very long article is not evidence, you have to actually pick out what in the article supports your claim and present it here, im not going to read a really long article to see if it has any merit or not, it is your responsibility to show how it does). AT BEST this argument means we need more cops patrolling our streets. I agree that would help, but that does not mean that police profiling is what is solving the problem, it is that there are more cops on the street. You can fight crime without risking dehuminizing unjust practices by increasing the size of police forces, not by profiling.

Pro says "I would still like for you to either A-Prove to me that some police profiling is racist in a negative way, and is bad enough to offset any good that comes of police profiling or B- Police profiling is bad regardless of racism."

Here's how I meet A: "Here is an example of police profiling in action: A "well-dressed young African-American man driving his Ford Explorer on I-75 sees the blue lights of the Georgia State Patrol car behind him. The officer pulls behind the sport utility vehicle and the young man's heart begins to sink. He is on his way to Atlanta for a job interview. The stop, ostensibly for speeding, should not take long, he reasons, as the highway patrol officer walks cautiously toward the Explorer. But instead of simply asking for a driver's license and writing a speeding ticket, the trooper calls for backup. Another trooper soon arrives, his blue lights flashing as well. The young man is told to leave his vehicle, as the troopers announce their intention to search it. "Hey, where did you get the money for something like this?" one trooper asks mockingly while he starts the process of going through every inch of the Explorer. Soon, an officer pulls off an inside door panel. More dismantling of the vehicle follows. They say they are looking for drugs, but in the end find nothing. After ticketing the driver for speeding, the two officers casually drive off. Sitting in his now-trashed SUV, the young man weeps in his anger and humiliation."

That seems pretty negative to me

From http://www.reason.com......
"the use of class probability in police investigations is correctly regarded with extreme suspicion, as it violates a basic principle of justice: The legal system should treat all citizens equally, until there is specific, credible evidence that they have committed a crime. In the cases we've been discussing, we can say that the odds that any particular young black or Hispanic man will be hassled by the police are much higher than for a white man who, aside from his race, is demographically indistinguishable from him." Statistics show that far more young black men were pulled over and searched than any other race. These were presented in my first argument(see above) and never refuted.

Furthermore, if you need any more reasons why racism is bad see the piece of evidence in my first argument, it is a horribly dehumanizing practice.

Here's how I meet B: 1. You cannot disregard racism as ive shown that in practice that is what profiling results in. 2. THERE IS NO EVIDENCE THAT POLICE PROFILING WORKS, my opponent presents no study that it has ever reduced crime. Absent that, even the threat of discrimination ought to be enough to disregard it as it violates a basic tenant of our justice system.

Pro says "http://www.ncpc.org...... Clearly states that knowing whom is committing a crime can help with prevention, exactly what police profiling does." It does not specify what it means by whom. If I know that john smith committed a crime it certainly helps with prevention. If I know this gang or criminal enterprise commits certain kinds of crime it will help prevent crime. There is nothing written on that page to attest to police profiling as being a good way to figure out the whom of who committed a crime

Finally, at the beginning of the second linked page it says"Our nation's ability to prevent serious violent crime may depend heavily on our ability to help reshape community life." Racist practices drive communities apart, they make everything in the community more about race, and seeing each other as different based on race. This is what the Patricia Williams evidence presented at the beginning is talking about, so if community is important to preventing crime, profiling acts counter to that.

You vote for the con because police profiling is a racist practice that dehumanizes individuals. There is no evidence presented by Pro that it actually has any effect whatsoever on reducing crime, and I've just shown that it is more likely to actually increase crime by tearing communities apart. As said before and never addressed by Pro, "Police profiling feeds racial discrimination, which you failed to respond to. "By saying that profiling is acceptable, you make racist practices seem more acceptable not only to police, but also to the general public as well. You entrench that racism not just in hearts and minds, but in the very systems of justice that are meant to be unbiased and colorblind.""
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by KatieDC 5 years ago
KatieDC
@repete21: Put yourself in the shoes of a middle eastern or african american who has been pulled over while driving. You were not driving poorly and your car is perfectly fine. The officer has pulled you over simply because you are not caucasian. Can you honestly tell me that you would be okay with that? I highly doubt that. America is supposed to be all about rights and freedoms. And while someone who has been pulled over as the result of profiling DOES have the right to not allow the officer to search his car or make him step out of the car without probable cause, it makes the person look guilty, regardless of whether or not they have done anything wrong. Also, the officer can say that the person was obstructing justice and arrest them. This is why police profiling should not be tolerated in any way, shape or form. So saying that police profiling is a good thing is quite ridiculous. Once again, I ask you to put yourself in those shoes. You wouldn't be for it then.
Posted by DemosthenesC 9 years ago
DemosthenesC
Hmm, one of the con's points was pertaining to the search of a black man's vehicle. It was that mans right to refuse to allow the officers to search his car as they need probable cause. He could have refused them when asked if they could look around the car. But if they searched his car without it, he could have sued the crap out of the police station and have made enough money back to pay off the damage to his car I should think.
Posted by Ineffablesquirrel 9 years ago
Ineffablesquirrel
Profiling is NOT about discrimination. While discrimination may happen (since 9/11 against Middle Eastern individuals and frequently against black males), it is the fault of individual police officers (and their improper training) and incorrect views of who commits crime. The purpose of profiling is to solve crimes more quickly and cheaply (law enforcement resources are finite) by using a set of statistics, beliefs, and logic to pursue ONLY the people who could fit the profile of the criminal.

In most cases, law enforcement officers of all sorts (from the FBI to the local forces in each city) have a certain method to their madness. Sometimes certain individuals are harassed more often (e.g. "driving while black" syndrome), but profiling is a necessary tool that law enforcement must use. They do not have (nor will they probably ever have) the resources to pursue EVERYONE in any given criminal case. It is illogical to think so. The real problem with profiling is at the fault of the individuals involved. The people of the upper echelon of any law enforcement organization should make sure their officers are using correct techniques to pursue cases and this would lead to fewer issues with profiling.
14 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by miketheman1200 3 years ago
miketheman1200
repete21pmagyarTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Way stronger argument made by con. Pro asks us to look into his sources instead of just explaining. He also never thoroughly refutes arguments made by Con.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 5 years ago
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repete21pmagyarTied
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