7-1 Discussion: Racial Profiling

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7-1 Discussion: Racial Profiling

Racial profiling thwarts effective policing because it impairs trust between police and the community.

—Southern Poverty Law Center

For this discussion, you will explore the issue of racial profiling. According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), racial profiling is “when law enforcement and private security target people of color for humiliating and often frightening detentions, interrogations, and searches without evidence of criminal activity and based on perceived race, ethnicity, national origin, or religion” (2019).

The U.S. Supreme Court has historically upheld the constitutionality of racial profiling. However, numerous groups, including the ACLU, believe otherwise. In fact, in 2003, the U.S. Department of Justice forbade any racial profiling by its federal officers. Regardless of its constitutionality, which is arguable, law enforcement officers still may possess implicit biases that could lead to data discrepancies between who is stopped, arrested, or formally charged.

For this discussion, consider if and how racial profiling by law enforcement officers can be regulated.

For your initial post, address the following questions:

  • Based upon the readings, what do Police Officers need to conduct investigations that would not be considered or viewed as ‘racial profiling’?
  • How can police behavior be “lawful” but not legitimate?
  • Is it constitutional to regulate racial profiling in law enforcement agencies? Why or why not?

In response to two of your peers, consider which of their points make the most sense to you, even if you have a different viewpoint. Additionally, address the following questions:

  • What are the effects of the methods mentioned in the original post?
  • Do they infringe on any rights? Why or why not?


American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). (2019). Racial profiling. Retrieved from https://www.aclu.org/issues/racial-justice/race-and-criminal-justice/racial-profiling
Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). (2018, September 18). Racial profiling in Louisiana: Unconstitutional and counterproductive. Retrieved from https://www.splcenter.org/20180918/racial-profiling-louisiana-unconstitutional-and-counterproductive

To complete this assignment, review the Discussion Rubric document.

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