The great era of civil rights started in the 1960s, with Martin Luther King,
Jr.s stirring I have a Dream speech at the historic march on Washington
in August of 1963. At the same time Birmingham Police Commissioner Bull
Connor used powerful fire hoses and vicious police attack dogs against
nonviolent black civil rights activists. Although these years proved to be the
highlight and downfall of civil rights in America, even with the 1964 Civil
Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act being passed, time has repeated these
tumultuous events again in the present. Racial Profiling Essay has been one of many
civil rights issues concerning the unnecessary stopping and arresting of people
based on race, color, ethnicity and gender.
Skin-color has become evidence of
the propensity to commit crime, and police use this evidence against
minority drivers on the road all the time. This practice is so common that the
minority community has given it the derisive term, Driving While Black or
Brown a play on the real offense of driving while intoxicated.
Although many law enforcement officers defend themselves by saying they are
fighting against the War on Drugs by arresting these law offenders, recent
trials and reports show that no basis of arrest have been found against these
minorities. Official skin-color prejudice is still reflected throughout the
criminal justice system. Today, skin-color makes you a suspect in America. It
makes you more likely to be stopped by a law enforcement officer, more likely to
be searched, and more likely to be arrested and imprisoned.
Tens of thousands of
innocent motorists on highways across the country are victims of racial
profiling, and these discriminatory police stops have reached epidemic
proportions in recent years. Fueled by the War on Drugs, this fight has
given police a pretext to target people who they think fit a drug courier
or gang member profile. At many times, these minorities have been stopped
and arrested for illegal offenses, however we are not sure if these stories have
been filed truthfully by law enforcement officers. Many police departments face
issues concerning racist law enforcement officers who cause the problems of
racial profiling. One such example comes from the Hillside Police Department,
where several racial bias charges have been made against them. Racial slurs have
become common in the Hillside district, where even the department supervisor
does background checks on minorities IN the squad, even to kick them off the
In this department, only two officers are Hispanic and one is of African
decent. The officers, many of whom are white, are encouraged to target
minorities first to fill their ticket quotas for the month. Hillside officers
defend themselves saying that Hillside is 40 percent black and 20 percent
Hispanic. However, the actions taken by Hillside officer, such as targeting to
fill quotas and background checking, seem disconcerting. The Reverend Jesse
Jackson even needed to call for federal protection for whistleblowing police
officers. Because of the Law Enforcement Trust and Integrity Act, passed this
year, other officials who witness this discriminating act are protected.
says, The identity of a law enforcement officer who complains in food faith
to a government agency or department about the unlawful practices of a law
enforcement agency shall remain confidential and shall not be disclosed by any
person except upon the knowing written consent of the law enforcement officer.
This section shall not preempt any right of confrontation protected by the
Constitution of by Federal, State or tribal law. In many cases, we can not
determine whether the racial profiling comes from the individual law enforcer,
or the department itself. Many policies have been suggested to either report
these discriminatory acts, or to record the ethnicity, race, or gender of the
person being stopped. However, without the correct supervision of these
officers, we can not truthfully tell whether these policies will be followed.
There have been bills proposed to even make the slightest positive effect on
racial profiling, yet many have been overlooked.
Former California Governor Pete
Wilson served as best he could to fight key civil rights issues such as
affirmative action and immigrant rights, however Governor Gray Davis has had a
disappointing civil rights record. Although he has helped establish new civil
rights gains for the lesbian and gay communities, he has also vetoed a number of
bills aimed at reducing discrimination against communities of color and
immigrants. SB 44, a bill sponsored by Senator Richard Polanco, encourages state
and local governments to conduct outreach programs. SB 44 had bipartisan support
and was previously endorsed by former Attorney .