Is it wrong for the police to profile people based on race? Is it ever an acceptable practice?
I was with some friends last night and we discussed a number of topics. All of us in the group are followers of Jesus. We all are involved in ministering to others through teaching, mentoring, service, etc.
One topic that came up was fighting crime. We were talking specifically about our neighborhoods on the west side of Chicago. Two of the brothers suggested that they have no problem with the police profiling people based on race.
For example, a white person walking or driving through a neighborhood that is known for selling drugs and predominately African-American in make-up. They thought it would be OK for the police to stop them and ask questions simply based on race. The assumption would be that the person was there to buy drugs. They also suggested that it was OK to stop a young black male in a car or walking in a predominately white neighborhood. The assumption would be that the person was up to no good - theft, drug dealing, etc.
They made very clear that they do not approve of the way the police often treat people in these situations, but that their profiling based on race, if done in a respectful and polite manner, would not be a problem to them. For instance if the situation ended like this - "Sorry for the inconvenience, hope that you have a nice evening".
I strongly disagreed with them personally.
But I want you to know that these are not uninformed individuals. Both of them grew up in Chicago. Both of them live on the west side of Chicago. Both of them are faithful followers of Christ. Both of them have had negative interactions with law inforcement for doing nothing, but "looking suspicious".
This does not give you the whole discussion or every side of the reasoning, but I want to know what you think about this issue.
Is it ever right for law enforcement to stop and question people based on race? White, Black, Arab, Mexican - there can be assumptions that come with each depending on the context. Is there a better way to fight crime, terrorism, drug dealing, etc.?