The controversy surrounding racial profiling is unfairly placed, considering the recent misuse of the term and the considerable benefits that it provides.
According to the Minnesota House Of Representatives, racial profiling is a relatively new term, and as such, its definition has been subject to ambiguity, which inevitably leads to confusion and controversy. As of now, there are two accepted definitions of racial profiling, one narrow, and one broad. The narrow definition uses race as the sole basis of the stopping, searching, or questioning of an individual, while the broad definition is the use of race as one of several factors of the stopping, searching, or questioning of an individual. Unfortunately, the general public has the belief that the narrow definition is the sole definition of racial profiling, and I believe that this stems from the portrayal of police-minority violence in the media. Whenever a police officer stops someone based on their race, it’s for a just cause. They are trained to do a brief search of people who fit the demographic of criminals in their area, whether they are African American, Hispanic, Middle Eastern, or Caucasian. It just so happens whenever something awful happens during these searches, that’s when the media picks up on these stories. If you run a news station, what would attract more attention: a caucasian police officer shooting a young African American man during a routine stop and search, or a caucasian police officer discovering contraband during a routine stop and search? The shooting would attract much more attention, because of an effect in our brains called the negativity bias. We as humans are more likely to be attracted to horrible events or tragedies, which also explains why we stop to look at car accidents on the freeway, or crowd around a crime scene. If the news only broadcasts horror stories of police stops, the outrage of minority communities would make sense. Now, the main counterargument here is that cops can have underlying racist tendencies during these stops, and I do concede that that can be true. However, racist or not, this is how police officers are trained. They are trained to stop and search those who fit the crime demographics of their area, whether if it entails they are black, white, Hispanic, Muslim, or Asian.
My call to action is this: the news should cover more of the positive aspects of police stop and seizures. By accomplishing so, the public can be fully informed that race is not the sole factor for police stops. After all, this is all in an attempt to reduce, and hopefully, prevent crime.
Reporter: Jacob Zacky