Defining Racial Profiling and Utilitarian Argument

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The article will also deals with delineating the incongruence in the arguments in favor of racial profiling and reinforce the arguments against racial profiling. Finally, it will be argued that a number of utilitarian objections that have been leveled against racial profiling are impenetrable by those that support racial profiling that. Definition of Racial Profiling In order to maintain the logical soundness and defensibility of any argument, one must clearly define racial profiling the before marching into any discussion about the moral problem it poses. The term racial profiling was coined to criticize certain abusive investigation methods of the police force and, as a result, has widely been associated with being unjust and the unjustifiable (Gross amp. Livingston, 2002). In this essay, however, the term will be used without any bias and the implication of illegitimacy. When racial profiling will be referred in the article, it would be on the basis of Risse and Zechhauser’s (2004) broad definition that will be introduced later in the article. Ramirez (2000) defines racial profiling as any police-initiated action that relies on the race, ethnicity, or national origin, rather than the behavior of an individual or information that leads the police to a particular individual who has been identified as being, or having been, engaged in criminal activity. Here, the definition puts together race, ethnicity, and nationality along with the use of an individual’s behavior or information. By doing so, Ramirez describes profiling in a way seeks moral disapproval against the complete reliance on race and ethnicity in police investigation. It is clear that according to this definition, the unjustified racial profiling is when the race and ethnicity are the sole motivation for a police action (Risse amp. Zeckhauser, 2004). Despite its general soundness at a first glance, the definition fails to consider the cases that involve a combination of race and information (Risse amp. Zeckhauser, 2004). Hypothetically, if the police stopped disproportionately more blacks than whites for petty violations of the law, such as driving with a broken tail light or exceeding a speed limit by 10mph, it should be considered racial profiling. However, Ramirez’s definition cannot be used to establish whether this case is racial profiling or not because in this example, both race and information are used in the police action (Risse amp. Zeckhauser, 2004). On the other hand, Risse and Zeckhauser (2004) define racial profiling in a more comprehensive manner by suggesting that racial profiling is any police-initiated action that relies on the race, ethnicity, or national origin and not merely on the behavior of an individual. Through this definition, it can be deduced that racial profiling is when police action relies on a combination of information and race to punish those involved in committing crime. Tests for Justified Racial Profiling Even though, Risse and Zechhauser’s definition of racial profiling is comprehensive and helpful in understanding the kind of police action that