RACIAL PROFILING AND ITS EFFECTS

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced” - James Baldwin.

James Baldwin did not finish his script called “Remember this house” but he gave us this quote and it was also on the basis of the documentary created “I am not your Negro”, This quote made me open my eye towards Racism and injustice that has become contemporary in today’s globalized world. Racial profiling has been one of the largest consideration from our ancient history. Racial Profiling is a much more sensitive topic that each and every human being can relate to, the simple explanation about racial profiling would be it is an extension of knowledge or stereotypes about the traits or the behaviour patterns of ethnic or racial group on individuals who are belonging to a respective ethnic group, where the problem arises when an individual is judged based on his respective ethnic group or race rather than judging him based on his skills or personality.

A common misconception begins as most of people are unaware of what actually racial profiling means and it deals with incarceration, miseducation, and the existence of slavery, for example, the society we have got to live in always got the mindset to regard terrorists are any type of brown male and coming from a particular religious background. Although it is important to note that it is not a race or ethnicity that commits a crime rather it is an individual who commits a crime and you need to judge that person individually but not the whole group for that specific act.

One of my personal experiences would be when I was in grade 6, during the selections that took place for the island-wide swimming competition, I couldn't get selected even though I performed very well at my school level. At that time I was not matured enough to understand why I got rejected despite my race, colour, ethnic group or it could be for various other reasons too. At that point, I was not judged based on the skills or abilities that I possessed. Recent studies and researches conducted by experts have identified the impact of racial profiling could lead to psychological effects such as stress-related disorders, race-related threats, and failing to use the resources available within the community.

One major effect would be changing in behaviour within individuals, this is one form of socialization where the child grows up by accepting the basic social behaviour that is taught and practiced by their family, having children or youth alter their behaviour or perception of the world due to racial profiling is profound and enduring and it is likely to last for the rest of their lives and pass on to their future generations. Physical effects are also considered to be one of the striking impacts of racial profiling, where people are made uncomfortable and leading to physical injuries as a result of aggressive response towards the situations that could arise from racial profiling.

At times it can also create mistrust and reduce the public confidence that we have towards public institutions and law enforcement laws and systems that are practiced widely in the country. The impact of racial profiling could extend beyond those who directly face or experience it, this means the social and economic cost involved is also relatively high. Apart from the negative impacts of racial profiling where there could be favoritism retained among the institutions or systems that exist in the country, for example, the selection of an individual who does not possess abilities or qualifications for a particular job position may be selected as an idle candidate for that position by the employer as that particular individual belongs to the same race or ethnic group as of that employer. This is a common thing that usually happens today where talented youth tend to face rejections despite there aren't any actual problems involved within them.

Racial profiling works in different ways based on specific historical or cultural context in question within the society. One recent high profile issue was Black lives matter which took place in United states of America, despite this issue some stakeholders argued that racial profiling is a valid law enforcement and permitted to be continued within the United States. Within the United States racial profiling has both a civil right issue and a pragmatic issue on the other hand. When it comes to civil rights issues it could be a problem for an individual who is targeted within the special law enforcement due to his demographic characteristics but it might hinder the practice of law enforcement itself at the level of pragmatism.

Racial profiling is a large problematic issue that needed to be considered that has created more negative impacts or drawbacks than benefits. Racial profiling itself breaks down the trust within the community which makes the existing problems related to crime or injustice more worse than expected. The government and several other commissions have proposed various future actions in order to combat racial profiling within their countries, where they decided to raise public awareness regarding this problem, to mobilize this problem and to put an end to it and divide between those who deny the existence of racism and the community which has long held that they have been the targets of racial profiling. Apart from the actions taken by the commissions, as a responsible citizen in this world I should be also taking up the responsibility to fight act against racial profiling, and also to create a sustainable impact where the younger generation could also benefit. I would conclude by saying, spread equality and happiness so that you get to discover more what is left out in the rest of the world that you don’t know until now.

Written By:

Gajaneei Ragupathy
(4th Place – Descriptive Article Category)
WORDVILLE’20

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