From trying to cash a check at the bank, to mowing lawns, to sleeping in the college dorms or even coming home to an apartment building, there are numerous stories of African-Americans being harassed. Women, men, and even children going about their daily lives only to be intruded by strangers provoked by their presence and this provocation often ending in police involvement. Advancement in technology has made it easier to capture these incidents and reveal how African-Americans have become targets of hate crimes. This disgusting practice of racial profiling has resulted in numerous people of color forced to live their lives in fear of being thrown into the sunken place by white people and created a stigma for law enforcement toward them. Police brutality is an inheritance of African-American suppression, enslavement, and legal inequality.
Racial profiling refers to the use of race, gender, ethnical background or even religion as police reasoning for stopping, searching, or arresting without probable cause. In Jordan Peele’s movie GET OUT, Chris is racially profiled when instead of investigating the crash, the police immediately asked Chris to see his driver’s license. Racial profiling is based on those who are victims of discriminatory acts. Racial profiling appears to be more effective when the group being profiled are oppressed. Police officials refer to complaints on racial profiling as merely citizens misinterpretation on the precaution and procedures performed by law enforcement on a day to day basis. The term “Protect and Serve” is an apprehension in reference to predominantly white neighborhoods, while minority communities rather receive the “Law and Order” approach.
For years African-Americans have been stereotyped into being criminals; young Blacks have been portrayed as thieves, abusers, and even biological mistakes. Someone who has been affected by this racial profiling is Earlene Miller, a former CSUN student. I had the privilege of interviewing her on her experience of obtaining a credit card and overcoming identity fraud. She explained to me the judgmental look the bank employees gave her and even the rude remarks she received upon discovering she was a victim of identity fraud. What fascinated most about my observation came from my workplace, where I viewed racial profiling first hand by employees solely asking Black students to verify their credit cards with another form of identification.
In the article by Richard J. Lundman and Robert L. Kaufman labeled, “Driving While Black: Effects of Race, Ethnicity, and Gender on Citizen Self-Reports of Traffic Stops and Police Actions,” they explain how African-Americans have become the most popular suspects in improbable police stops, “although African Americans made up only 8% of the city’s population aged 15 years and older, 12% of all traffic stops involved African-American drivers, as did 14% of traffic stops for equipment violations” (R.J. Lundman and R.L. Kaufman 120). Racial profiling falsely stops and sometimes convicts innocent Blacks solely based on the color of their skin.
Throughout the movie GET OUT, Peele shows common stigmas linked to the African-American community. The protagonist Chris finds himself being faced with many stereotypical questions concerning both his physical aspects and perception view in being a Black man in modern society. The elder Lisa squeezes Chris’ bicep, which then leads to her question, “A bit too familiar. So, is it true? The love making. Is it better?” (Peele 48). This quote unfolds how racial profiling and theories tied to African-American communities occur. The assumption is made that Chris would, of course, be strong because he is Black and that he gives great sexual experiences. Over a decade ago the assumption was accepted that African race was superior and that their genitalia size correlate to their shoe size. With few planning and procedures, this myth formulates into a misconception that sticks to our Black men. No matter how hard we fight for change, the systems silence us into the sunken place.
Peele is one of many Black activists staying woke to this racial profiling tossed onto Black communities to juggle. The caucasian artist known as Eminem raps in his song Untouchable, “Why is there Black neighborhoods? / Cause America segregated us/ Designated us to an area/ Separated us/ Section-eight’d us’ — and criticized bad cops who ‘fu*k it up for good cops,” (YouTube). The artist places himself in the shoes of a racist white cop who antagonizes Black people by gushing hateful slander such as “Black boy,” a frequently used term by slave owners to belittle Black men during the slavery period in America.
For many Americans, a simple traffic stop is a regular incident that occurs. On the other hand, for racial minorities, a routine traffic stop has a completely different meaning. Historically, relations between law enforcement and people of color have been uneasy, and numerous members of the Black community have come to believe we are prey for law enforcement because of the color of our skin. It has become widely aware that Americans, more specifically African-Americans, conclude that police use race as a justification for criminal involvement. In Ron Finley’s Ted talk “ A Guerilla Gardener in South Central,” he states, “To change the community you have to change the composition of soil” (Finely). He meant in order to bring awareness to the suppression weighed on people of color, we must first address that we are suppressed. For centuries African- Americans have been in continuous battle that police officers scrutinize their behavior constantly and countless reports have captured the fear people of color have of being arrested even when foul play isn’t present.
Racial profilings in contemporary debates focuses on whether it exists in concern to an officer’s intentional discrimination or if they have a policy or custom of racail profiling. It is unlikely that an officer will admit his or her bias or that an agency will produce their racially-biased policy, thus making definitive proof of profiling difficult to ascertain. The U.S. Department of Justice defines as a decision by law enforcement that “rests on the erroneous assumption that any particular individual of one race or ethnicity is more likely to engage in misconduct than any particular individual of other races or ethnicities” (Kami Chavis Simmons “Beginning to End Racial Profiling: Definitive Solutions to an Elusive Problem”). Race has justified social inequalities as natural. Although race is biologically meaningless, white people make it socially and culturally significant.
Overall, racial profiling is a problem with the solution within it. While efforts to gather data on racial profiling have been attempted, the focus must shift from trying to prove it is occuring to changing the perceptions Blacks have tied to them and building trust between those who protect and serve and the people who need the protecting and serving. In America, Blacks are only free in battle never in rest leaving them with no choice but to sink in. There is inequality because of discrimination, oppression,, privilege, and opportunity- NOT because of biology. Being colorblind will not end racism.
- Peele, Jordan- GET OUT File:///home/chronos/u-f21888ec51b1394c01a3f324aa50e1bd64f0559f/MyFiles/Downloads/GET-OUT%20(1).pdf Accessed 23 September 2019.
- Lundman, J. Richard, and Kaufman, L. Robert- “Driving While Black: Effects of Race, Ethnicity, and Gender on Citizen Self-Reports of Traffic Stops and Police Actions” http://urbanaillinois.us/sites/default/files/attachments/04-social-science-subcommittee-report-part-1.pdf Accessed 28 September 2019.
- Marshall, Emine- Untouchable https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56KYMMGudcU Accessed 30 September 2019.
- Finley, Ron- A Guerilla Gardener in South Central https://www.ted.com/talks/ron_finley_a_guerilla_gardener_in_south_central_la?language=en Accessed 26 September 2019.
- Simmons, Kami Chavis. ‘Beginning to End Racial Profiling: Definitive Solutions to an Elusive Problem.’
- Washington and Lee Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice 18.1 (2011): 25. Web. Accessed 1 October 2019.