Why Donald Trump is Wrong On Racial Profiling

Racial Profiling is unconstitutional and doesn’t work that well

By: Elias J. Atienza

Donald Trump, the Republican Party nominee, said in a recent interview that the United States should return to “profiling” in response to recent mass shootings involving ISIS-inspired shooters.

“Well I think profiling is something that we’re going to have to start thinking about as a country,” Trump said in an interview with Face the Nation. “Other countries do it, you look at Israel and you look at others, they do it and they do it successfully. And I hate the concept of profiling but we have to start using common sense and we have to use our heads.”

I’m sorry, but I thought this was America.

First, let’s talk about the constitutional rights. The 4th Amendment guarantees that you will not subject to unreasonable searches and seizures. The 14th Amendment guarantees equal rights under the law. Racial profiling violates both.

As the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights points out,”The U.S. Supreme Court has held that racial profiling violates the constitutional requirement that all persons be accorded equal protection of the law.”

There are several examples of racial profiling. One example is stop and frisk, where an officer stops and searches someone because they look suspicious to them.

As Donald Braman writes in The Atlanticstop and frisk in New York didn’t do much to stop crime. He writes:

“The now-abandoned practice of requiring officers (often fresh out of the academy) to meet performance goals for citations and arrests seems wrong on several levels, but the most fundamental one is that it doesn’t reduce crime. A close second is the increased costs to families and communities. As Bruce Western, Amanda Geller, Christopher Wildeman, and many others have described, the collateral damage from broad criminalization is far-reaching, and concentrated on the populations that can least afford them.”

If we are going to use racial profiling in response to mass shootings, why don’t we racially profile whites? After all, since 1982, whites (almost all of them males) have committed sixty-two percent of mass shootings. Why shouldn’t police stop and frisk every single white male outside of a school, outside of a movie theater, or outside of a church?

Or how about we profile Asians. Asians committed nine percent of mass shootings. Why shouldn’t we profile them? After all, they are only five percent of the population.

If you found yourself disagreeing with profiling Asians and whites, then we shouldn’t racially profile anybody. As much as Donald Trump wants us to be like Israel, we are not Israel. We are not surrounded by hostile nations who want to wipe us out. We’re bordered by Canada and Mexico. We have two oceans protecting us from the rest of the world. Israel doesn’t. We should have a debate on our immigration system; but racially profiling people is not part of that debate.

In the end, the Constitution doesn’t care about the color of your skin. It doesn’t care about your ideology, it doesn’t care about your gender, or your religion. All of us have the same rights; the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

As Justice Brandeis wrote,”Our constitution is colorblind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens. In respect of civil rights, all citizens are equal before the law. The humblest is the peer of the most powerful.”


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