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The Anatomy of Justice Part I – Profiling: The myth, the science and the behavior

Data from 60 qualitative interviews reveal the presence of racial tensions in 21st-century nationwide. Black participants expressed experiencing racial prejudice while operating automobiles, riding bicycles or walking. White passengers also reported witnessing data from 60 qualitative interviews reveal the presence of racial tensions in 21st-century United States, no communities seem to be exceptions.

Black participants expressed experiencing racial prejudice while operating automobiles. White passengers also reported witnessing instances of driving while Black (DWB) while riding with Black drivers. Specifically, White participants reported instances of profiling, where they witnessed Black drivers pulled over by police officers, although no traffic violation occurred.

While the United States has made valuable strides, we still have prejudices to overcome. Instances of driving while Black (DWB) while riding with Black drivers. Specifically, White participants reported instances of profiling, where they witnessed Black drivers pulled over by police officers, although no traffic violation occurred. Two themes emerged for Black participants: (a) fear that they would be pulled over, and (b) motivation to “survive” the law enforcement encounter. This latter statement also indicates fear of physical injury.

Participants’ experiences insinuate a continued racial tension between Black citizens and White law enforcement officers. Therefore, it is clear that while the United States has made valuable strides, we still have ingrained prejudices to overcome in many areas but particularly withint law enforcement. Specifically troublesome is the lack of data being recorded and or department cover-up.

This is a subject that is two fold, in terms of understanding it, from the view of behavioral science and social science. I view it from my experience as a former investigator (CDI) and my training, research and experience as a executive level race relations education specialist, while facilitating race relations seminars, executive EEO planning meetings, and resultant dialogue.

So looking at the word [profile] itself, let me provide several definitions and ways of viewing the subject of profiling: (1) the recording and analysis of a person’s psychological and behavioral characteristics, so as to assess or predict their capabilities in a certain sphere or to assist in identifying a particular subgroup of people. (2) the act or process of extrapolating information about a person based on known traits or tendencies (3) consumer profiling; specifically the act of suspecting or targeting a person on the basis of observed characteristics.

These days, many refer to stereotyping by police as when an officer thinks a person is committing some sort of crime simply because they are of a certain race, culture, etc. Profiling as it pertains to law enforcement does have a history and goes back quite a ways in the history of this country. In fact, informal criminal profiling has a very long history. It was used as early as the 1880s, when two physicians, George Phillips and Thomas Bond, used crime scene clues to make predictions about British serial murderer Jack the Ripper’s personality.

…To Be Continued

Andrew Jackson is a resident of Virginia Beach and active in the Seajack Civic League of that city.

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