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ENG 101 Racial Profiling in America Essay

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Christiana Jenae Tait
ENG-101-MMD
Deborah Artis
April 20, 2016
Racial Profiling in America: A Thing of the Past or Not?
There are people of many different races, ethnicities, and religions living in America today.
Despite the vast racial and cultural diversity of this nation, racism remains constant. It has greatly
impacted society and has branched out into many places, taking on different faces. One of these
faces is racial profiling. From the Holocaust to the civil rights movement to the present day,
minorities have been wrongfully treated. When law enforcement targets these individuals it often
leads to unlawful interrogations, searches without cause, unjustified arrests, abuse, and in some
cases death. Authority figures have hidden behind broken systems to carry out their own prejudices
and racial hatred. Although the evidence of racism is clearly seen, there are varying opinions about
its existence. There are some who believe racism is a thing of the past, and no longer exists. Some
believe it has resurfaced and others believe that it never left.
The belief that racism is a thing of the past is partially accurate. The problem of racial
profiling can be dated back presumably to the 1700s. During slavery, runaways were hunted down
by the white police. In order to avoid being harassed, beaten or even killed, slaves were required
to carry papers saying they could be off their plantations. Even after slavery was no longer legal,
racial profiling became more prevalent during the Civil Rights Movement. It did not matter that
blacks were free and no longer enslaved. They lived in fear because the laws of segregation gave
society the right to openly discriminate against them. The notion however that racism is a thing of

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the past is far from the truth. Even in modern day times we are faced with new levels of racial
profiling. In 2012, Trayvon Martin was shot and killed unjustly. While walking home from the
store he was approached by neighborhood watch captain, George Zimmerman. Although the story
is told a few different ways, Zimmerman was instructed to not follow Trayvon and he ignored the
9-1-1 dispatchers’ orders. Zimmerman approached Trayvon causing there to be a confrontation
and that confrontation ultimately led to Trayvon’s death .The reality is Trayvon was killed because
of racial profiling. He was a young, black man walking down the street with a hood and was
automatically believed to be guilty of doing something wrong. In another instance a woman by the
name of Sandra Bland was found dead in her jail cell three days after her arrest. Sandra was pulled
over by a state trooper for neglecting to signal a turn. The stop turned violent ending with Bland’s
arm injured and being arrested for assaulting an officer. Police claim that her death was suicide.
Some would believe that these recent cases of racial profiling are new or have just
resurfaced. However from slavery until now racial profiling has been consistent. It is a known fact
that racism began to be hidden behind legal systems and practices. The criminal justice system is
a perfect example. There are no written laws or policies to protect against racial profiling, so it has
become a practice within this country that allowed for inequality to continue to fester in every
state. Law enforcement stops people, whether they are driving on the roads or walking on the
sidewalks, and detain them based on race and ethnicity. These race-based institutions directly
target and punish minorities more aggressively than they do whites. Two thirds of the people with
life sentences are non-white according to a 2009 report made by the Sentencing Project. Blacks
receive sentences that are 10% longer than whites for the same crimes. While African Americans
make up 12% of the US population they make up over 50% of the prison and jail population which
is a direct result of racial profiling. According to a “stop and frisk” investigation in New York

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1 Christiana Jenae Tait ENG-101-MMD Deborah Artis April 20, 2016 Racial Profiling in America: A Thing of the Past or Not? There are people of many different races, ethnicities, and religions living in America today. Despite the vast racial and cultural diversity of this nation, racism remains constant. It has greatly impacted society and has branched out into many places, taking on different faces. One of these faces is racial profiling. From the Holocaust to the civil rights movement to the present day, minorities have been wrongfully treated. When law enforcement targets these individuals it often leads to unlawful interrogations, searches without cause, unjustified arrests, abuse, and in some cases death. Authority figures have hidden behind broken systems to carry out their own prejudices and racial hatred. Although the evidence of racism is clearly seen, there are varying opinions about its existence. There are some who believe racism is a thing of the past, and no longer exists. Some believe it has resurfaced and others believe that it never left. The belief that racism is a thing of the past is partially accurate. The problem of racial profiling can be dated back presumably to the 1700s. During slavery, runaways were hunted down by the white police. In order to avoid being harassed, beaten or even killed, slaves were required to carry papers saying they could be off their plantations. Even after slavery was no longer legal, racial profiling became more prevalent durin ...
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