Friday, October 9, 2009

ULTRACURRENTS: ** Racial Profiling: Good & Bad

  • tags: no_tag

    • Racial profiling has two sides to it - bright and dark. Peoples" outcry that Prof. Gates" arrest smacked of the dark side of racial profiling is difficult to substantiate in the context of what happened. Would we call it dark, if the professor were white?

      What is exactly racial profiling? Wikipedia defines it as a method that uses racial or ethnic characteristics of a person to determine whether he or she is likely to commit a crime or an illegal act. It is in a way an extension of statistical inference, which, by the way, is as good as the data collected. Granting that the data are good and the statistical analysis of the data indicates that within a confidence level a terrorist is likely to be an Islamic fundamentalist, then it pays to use an adequate sample size to thoroughly security check the travelers from Islamic nations to identify probable terrorists. Bear in mind that a 100% check on all passengers is costly and time consuming and if enforced the planes would never leave or arrive on time.
    • Arab countries profile foreign workers on a regular basis in order to perpetrate false accusations in the name of undocumented labor.
    • I realized then and there the importance of racial profiling. I would rather go through the tedious screening than let the plane take off without it. Mental peace of passengers outweighs the bitter inconvenience that a few of us suffer as a result of profiling.

      The experience taught me a valuable lesson "The good of all must prevail over the comfort of a few."