Racial profiling and criminal profiling
Racial profiling and criminal profiling
Racial profiling involves a social problem that has occurred throughout a country. Several cities, social groups, academics, and provinces have examined racial profiling and how ethnicity and race play a role in police investigations (Agnew, 2007). Racial profiling allegations have existed for a number of years and it still creates a lot of controversy and media hype as relates to police and how they interact with the minority. However, racial profiling should never be confused with criminal profiling since they are not the same. It should be noted that racial profiling is never specific to one particular race or one nation. It is possible for any individual to become racially profiled at any time irrespective of one’s sex or race or country of origin (Agnew, 2007). In order for one to examine criminal profiling and racial profiling, it is important to first understand the differences between the two aspects. Although there is no universal or clear definition of racial profiling, there is exists a common idea among the different definitions.
Racial profiling can be defined as the idea of solely targeting the racial minority groups to conduct criminal investigation on them based on the color of their skin. On the other hand, criminal profiling involves the police departments using ethnic or racial characteristics to stop a person based on the fact that his or her description is similar to that of the actual suspect (Agnew, 2007). Race is considered to be equivalent of height or color in this case, and can then be used alongside other factors to trace a suspected criminal. Resultantly, the generalized notions of criminal propensity are for that matter not projected onto a person based on the membership of that person to a particular ethnic or racial group.
The idea of racial profiling came into being in the 1980s, at a time when Drug Enforcement Agency in America arose and made use of common characteristics in profiling drug couriers as part of “war on drugs” by agencies. When members of the community started to complain about police actions as well as their investigations towards the minority groups, the use of profiling technique became labeled “racial profiling”. Feminist, interactionist, conflict, and functionalist perspectives all have the belief that racial profiling is one of manipulation, pressure, and discrimination of subordinate groups in order for the dominant group to exercise their race, social class, and sexual superiority over other groups (Fredrickson ; Siljander, 2002). The prejudice in racial profiling is brought about by socially constructed and psychological influences, where people get influenced by their environment to hate others solely based on race. The functionalist perspective has the belief that the society has been divided into two groups; the subordinate and the dominant, and that these two groups forms part of the society. On the other hand, functionalist view believes that the society has not been balanced as relates to race, given that it is natural for one particular group of people to become superior over another (Withrow, 2011). It also believes that racial equality reduces the power of the dominate group on the subordinate group.
Agnew, V. (2007). Interrogating race and racism. Toronto: Buffalo.
Fredrickson, D. D., ; Siljander, R. P. (2002). Racial profiling: Eliminating the confusion between racial and criminal profiling and clarifying what constitutes unfair discrimination and persecution. Springfield, Ill: Charles C Thomas.
Withrow, B. L. (2011). Racial profiling controversy: what every ` leader should know. Flushing, NY: Looseleaf Law Publications.
This is a bit broad but I think it is a doable topic. You may want to think about a comparison analysis of various serial killers OR rapists to serial killers—psychological profile different/similar etc. and that would narrow the focus.