The Instigator
luna5
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Luna3
Pro (for)
Winning
27 Points

Racial Profiling

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/4/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 8,979 times Debate No: 1358
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (9)

 

luna5

Con

Let's debate. You are for racial profiling. That's stupid. What do you have to say about that, fool?! :) hehe
Luna3

Pro

This is one of those tricky subjects. I remember having a conversation with my students recently about discrimination. I told them that most discrimination is legal. Also, in many cases discrimination is sociallu acceptable.

The term itself -discrimination- has such a negative connotation to it, but truth be told that's only because we are so used to using this word in the context of "bad" discrimination.

As an example: employers discriminate based on past work experience. Banks discriminate based on credit history. Doctors discriminate based on health history. Men discriminate based on whether or not they prefer a blonde or a brunette or a redhead. The word itself has catapulted it into a whole new meaning: "bad." I would argue much discrimination is good. Affirmative Action is an example of racial discrimination. Having a feminist theory class at a university is an example of gender discrimination. All the word means is to separate one from another. We are so used to the word discrimination being equated with social evil that we forget what it really means.

Similarly with racial profiling, a hundred red flags are waved when the subject comes up to the point where we kind of forget what the word sometimes really means.

We need to trust our law enforcement. They do an excellent job especially in tough neighborhoods in the Bronx and Brooklyn. They are trained to make all kinds of different observations in order to best protect and serve the public. One of these observations is an observation of racial make up (subject, perp, victim, anyone).

Unfortunately, when we think of the term racial profiling we think of the NJ state trooper that pulls over a driver on I-95 just because he's black. This, yes, is wrong. However, there has been carry-over into everyday police work that actually makes it harder for law enforcement officials to do their job because of the restrictions put on the types of observations they make.

When surveyed many law enforcement officials claim that not being able to racially profile handcuffs them, and takes a much needed tool out of their toolbelt. Their jobs would be made easier if they were allowed to follow hunches. These hunches are not meant to oppress, they are meant to serve the public. Police officers best serve when they are allowed to use all tools available. Will some abuse racial profiling, of course. No system is perfect.

Lets say that officers have been advised to arrest any day laborer they see waiting in front of delis or 7-11s to be picked up by landscapers. This is the task they have been charged with. It is wholly unrealistic to assume that these officers will question groups of African American or Caucasian men. It is wholly unrealistic to assume that these officers will question individual Spanish women. Yet our legal system, fancy lawyers, and whiny liberals have asked the police officers not to look specifically for a gathering of Latino and Spanish speaking men or else they are engaging in a social evil, one prosecutable.

In this overly litigious society, we have handcuffed our law enforcement officials by making them play a dangerous game of pretend. Pretend that illegal day laborers are something other than a moderately large gathering of Latino and Spanish speaking men. Pretend that the only Caucasian vehicle on a street known for crystal meth sales is not copping some drugs. Pretend that its not really Arabs we're looking for at airports its everybody.

During the Amadou Diallo trial the 4 police officers claimed they were looking for the Bronx rapist when they approached Diallo. When questioned as to why they thought Diallo may be the rapist, as to why he "fit the description" they gave height, weight, build, a variety of other reasons. But when pressed if they ever considered skin color or race each officer denied that skin color or race was a factor in why they approached him. The reason they did this is because it would have incriminated them. They would have thus become racial profilers. Yet the Bronx rapist is described clearly as being Black, our brave NYC police men and women are scared into even admitting that skin color was the first observation.

Now, you might claim that innocent folks will be harrassed because of skin color. This is a serious concern. But I think the opposite is worse. Not allowing brave officers to do their job, follow their hunches and not trusting their intituion, this would limit their effectiveness.

The truth is 99 out of 100 times when a car full of white kids with grateful dead and Hofstra stickers rolls through East Harlem at 3 AM on a Saturday night blasting Jimi Hendrix and wearing Lacrosse hats backwards and we ask our police NOT to notice. We are just being overly sensitive, and overly silly.

Let the cops do their jobs. Sometimes racial profiling can be a useful tool, and like anything else, there will be abuses.
Debate Round No. 1
luna5

Con

First off - I hope you know my first "debate" was half joking. It's not stupid. I just wanted to be silly for my first debate with my brother!

Anyway, I agree with you completely. I guess when I think of "racial profiling" I think of "driving while black." The a--hole cop who has nothing better to do than pull young black men over on the side of the NJ turnpike for kicks. I think random checks at airports is stupid. But I believe if law enforcement is going to do their job they need to take MORE than race into account and just can't use that as the one reason to question someone. How many innocent Americans of middle eastern descent were detained after 911 without a trial just because they had the same name as a terrorist or knew someone with a similar name etc. There has to be some kind of review process in case a complaint comes forward against law enforcement that we can determine "yes it was normal law enforcement profiling to include race as a factor" or "no this guy was on a power trip and must be penalized." Both occur. I'm assuming the first more than the last, but we can't ignore the fact there are a small minority of racist cops and they must be held accountable and this type of injustice shouldn't be swept under the rug.

There I go playing devil's advocate. I agree with you, but there's always two sides. One reason our country has become so letigious is because there have been situations where people were falsely accused, law enforcement has abused its power, etc. The more things people do wrong, the more laws we feel should be put in place to combat those injustices. Sometimes the more laws there are the harder it is to get anything done (case in point Congress). Which leads us to your argument, law enforcement feeling like it can't truly do it's job. So yeah, I pretty much agree with you, but I see how it's become an issue.

Does any of that make sense?

ps - Isn't it cool that we only disagree on 8% of the things they listed? However, the way they described each issue was kind of narrow and doesn't take into the account the complexity of each issue. I guess that's where the debate comes in.
Luna3

Pro

I read your response Luna5, if thats your real name. And all I saw was blah blah blah blah blah You're right blah blah blah blah I'm wrong.

Therefore, I WIN! I WIN! YIPPEEE! I WIN!

So, where ya from?
Debate Round No. 2
luna5

Con

luna5 forfeited this round.
Luna3

Pro

Luna3 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by TeaandScarves 9 years ago
TeaandScarves
Since luna5 has agreed with you, I feel as though it would be nice for me to make some comments on why I still don't agree luna3. I will use some of your examples.

First I will discuss the 7-11 scenario. I first of all don't understand why it would be unrealistic for the police to question ANY of these groups. In the example you gave no racial description of who they were looking for at the 7-11. Since they are landscapers, I'm sure the intended stereotype would be that the landscapers are Latino or possibly black. But since this was NOT given in the description, it WOULD be racial profiling and unwholly of them to ONLY question those two groups, but not to question all of them.
With that said, I would like to argue the flip side to this with the Amadou Diallo trial example. Since part of the description of the rapist apparently was that he was black (I cannot say I know this case so I am going off what you have given me), then I think it would have been fine for them to say that him being a black man was one of the reasons they questioned him. This is not racial profiling. This is another factor in the description they were given.
Overall, I think you made some good points, especially about discrimination. The problem is, racial profiling isn't about a person being a certain race and committing a crime supposedly known to that race. The problem is ASSUMING that someone must have committed a certain crime BECAUSE of their race. If there were a white man and a black man next to each other and you were told that one of them was a murderer but you had no evidence as to which one and you picked the black man, THAT is racial profiling. The correct thing to do would be to somehow obtain more information from the men themselves or elsewhere. Doing a "random" security check on the Arab man in the airport but not the countless white people that walked by is racial profiling.

Thank you for bringing up this debate. It is an important issue but rarely discussed.
9 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Vote Placed by Luna3 9 years ago
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