Hi, I am a grad student doing a project on racial profiling in our airports. Does anyone have any opinions on this or experiences? I was told this would be a good forum to post my question. Does this occur within the security of our airports? Thanks for the help!
What exactly is it you are looking for? That's a pretty vague question to ask. Are you wanting a Law Enforcement Officer's perspective? General Public?
Curious as to how we were associated as being a "good forum to post questions for your project"?
Feel free to stop by the Introduction section and post about yourself.
Threads merged, please post your thread in one section rather than spamming all sections of the forum.
I am not trying to spam your forum, I am just learning how this forum works. Anyways I have to do this bull shit report on racial profiling and I have to turn something in, in a couple of weeks. I need different perspectives on racial or sexual profiling that occurs to passengers while traveling through our airports. I hope this clarifies it better, any thoughts would be helpful.
p.s. Another forum I went to recommended I come here. Thanks for the help.
Not a problem, that term was used in the general sense when I noticed it pop up on two different sections. No big deal.
Terminator said it the best, and I echo what he said. Race while noticed is not the indicating factor in criminal activity. People of many different races can exhibit the same behavior when commiting, concealing, or conspiring to commit crime.
I'm going to suggest a different point of view, since you specifically mentioned airports.
As Terminator said, no cop is going to condone racial profiling as it applies to street police work.
However, the reverse of racial profiling is to eliminate those groups we are not worried about.
Checking 90 year old grammas and 3 year old American children is a waste of our time.
Terrorists *DO* have a profile, and in our interest of fairness we are spinning our wheels and allocating scarce resources in the wrong areas.
This is my perspective, based on a job in the military oriented towards counterterrorism, several months teaching TSA employees, and eleven years in law enforcement.
Being an airport security supervisor, I can say that while we do not "profile", considering the events of the past several years around the world, rest assured that "young males of apparent Middle Eastern appearance, especially those in groups", do receive an extra level of scrutiny while in or around our airport.
We do not harrass, intimidate, or send them packing, but they certainly get a little more "watching" than Granny catching her flight to go visit the grandkids would.
I'll echo the sentiment of other posters here...
As officers, we take many factors into account to form a criminal profile. Race isn't necessarily ignored in a criminal profile, but it also isn't a focus of it. We may look at someone based on their clothing, age, behavior, location, time of day, objects they are carrying, traits of their associates, body language, etc... In short, it is putting together the sum of all of the parts and saying "hey, this person is more likely to be a criminal than that person".
I think it is easier to explain this concept with examples. So look at these two scenarios and tell me what you think:
First is a neighborhood that has had problems with property crimes. The department brass is concerned that we focus on catching burglars in this area:
1) 2am, high crime area; person walks out from between two houses carrying a duffel bag. Person is looking around as if he/she thinks they are being watched. subject is also dressed in dirty looking older clothes, though the homes on this block are far more expensive than most others in the area. When the subject notices me, he/she turns and starts to walk in the opposite direction.
2) 9pm, same residential neighborhood. Party is pushing a stroller with a baby in it down the sidewalk. He/she is also walking a dog. Subject appears clean and well dressed. Subject doesn't react as I drive past.
Who would you contact? and, why?
That is a more extreme example of criminal profiling, and the answer is obvious, of course. But, my point is, race and gender don't necessarily play any role in a profile!
A seperate example where race could play a partial role, if you must:
A neighborhood watch meeting complained to the police about an increase in criminal activity associated with gangs in their neighborhood. Shootings have been occuring, and residents are scared.
While patrolling you come across three sets of people:
1) Asian female walking down the streets of X neighborhood, known for being "Blood" gang territory. Party is dressed in a red shirt and pants, and the clothing looks like business-casual attire. Party has no reaction as you drive past.
2) Three black males walking down the same street of X neighborhood, known for being "Blood" gang territory. All are wearing red, from head to toe, including shoe laces, and each party has a red bandanna hanging from his waistband. All parties appear to be in their late teens or early twenties. Two of the parties have tattoos on their arms. As you drive past, two of the parties stare at you with angry expressions, and one makes a symbol or other type of expression with his hands.
3) Three black males walking down the same street, same situation and time of day as above. First party is wearing a white shirt and blue jeans, he appears to be around 40 yrs old. Second party is wearing a black shirt with black pants, and looks to be about 20 years old. The third party is wearing a blue shirt and a white hat, and looks to be around 12 years old. As you drive by the youngest party waves to you, and the other two don't react.
This neighborhood is "blood" gang territory, and bloods are well-known for displaying red clothing in this area. Additionally, the bloods are strictly a black gang in this part of the state (there are no whites, hispanics, asians, or native americans in this gang).
Who would you talk to? And was race really the only factor you considered?
The answer again seems obvious. But this is simply what we do in law enforcement every day. We drive through neighborhoods and pick out the likely criminals based on what we know of crime trends in the area. Race and gender can occasionally play small roles, based on what we know of local trends... But, they are certainly NOT the deciding factor in who is (or is not) a criminal!!! The media often tries to add drama to this subject, but in reality it is little more than what I showed in these examples.
As Terminator said, we are all bothered by the idea of strictly "racial profiling". We are not racist, and we don't based our decisions soley on the color of a person's skin. However, we are professional "criminal profilers", and I am expected to go to work each day and pick the criminals out of a population of regular citizens! If we ever stop "criminal profiling" our society is going to be in serious trouble!
Hope that helps!
Thank you for all your input on the subject. Coloradocop since you asked me who I would notice, I would have to agree with you. I would look at the people that had characteristics of the group that has caused the most violations. In my research I read up on CAPPS (Computer assisted passenger pre-screening), one article subtly indicated that if race hadn't been such a huge issue before 9/11, we may have been able to pull more of the known terrorists off the planes. However due to pressures from Arab civil liberty associations and other complications, two of the hijackers from 9/11 were flagged but not investigated due to race. Is this accurate?
Put it this way. With all the crap about racial profiling and different groups crying about things there are some people that get scared to do their job. This is true when it comes to every day police work. There are cops that will not go hands on due do a fear of being sued. There are some cops that as soon as the race card gets dropped they are backing away from the situation. It is mostly white males that get afraid of this. I dont know if it is fear of the race card, fear of the BS investigation or they just dont want the hassle. If you look at other countries that have had problems in the past with flight security look at their tactics now. They racial profile everyone and there isnt a problem with it. Racial profiling is a problem in this country, the problem is that there are times that it can be effective but has such a negative connotation that it can never be "officially used".