reply to post by HunkaHunka
Well, there is a difference between official profiling and the personal profiling that police officers use in their regular duties.
For those that don't know, official profiling is where a report/memo/directive is issued that says, for example: that "officers should stop and
question young Muslim men, evidenced by middle eastern appearance, beards, cloaks, turbans, etc., etc. should be closely monitored for suspicious
actions, possible terrorist activities, blah , blah, blah.
That is an official declaration that a certain type of person is to, axiomatically, be suspected of a certain type of crime. That is wrong.
The other type is the profiling that police officers use all the time. It may be a conscious calculation or not, but it does exist. For experienced
officers, this type of profiling may be the difference between life and death. For example:
You perform a traffic stop for a red-light violation, on a Saturday at 2 pm, in a shopping district. You approach the car and see an elderly black
woman driving. In the back seat are bags of groceries and a cane. Your instinctual and intellectual assessment should be that this person presents an
low potential for danger. Guess what? You've just 'profiled' her. You know that there is no need to draw your gun, use a loud
voice or aggressive demeanor. You (should) know that the threat level here is very
minimal. That comes from both experience and knowledge of
She begins to cry. So, you check her license and ask her, politely, to please be more careful. (IF you don't - and I know there are some cops that
won't - you are just an obnoxious jerk).
Now on the other hand...
It's Saturday at 2 am. You are in a known drug-trafficking area. You stop a car and can discern four young black males, all wearing red bandannas
and shirts. One ducks down in the back seat. This situation does
warrant aggressive behavior, placing your hand on your sidearm (if not drawing
it outright) and calling for backup. Again, you've just 'profiled' the occupants. If you decide to be politically correct and NOT to profile this
time and just saunter up to the car, casually, with a cup of coffee in hand - then you are a FOOL.
The point is, your reaction has nothing to do with the vehicle occupants being specifically black, male or female, or elderly. But those variables do
'add up' to a different equation .If you know what you are doing, and you know what the truth of reality is, then you will behave in two totally
different ways. But both
reactions are based upon your own personal 'profiling'. You know, or learn, what a threat is. Sometimes that threat
assessment is based on minimal and superficial data - but you have to play the odds. And, (perhaps unfortunately) as in the second case, being a young
black male in a red shirt does
identify that person as a potential threat based upon your profiling. But that judgment is based upon a
realistic judgment and not just knee-jerk racism.