Profiling is the act of making a judgement based on perceived probabilities as to whether a person is likely to have committed a crime, but without hard evidence.
Profiling became a no-no because, in the South, sometimes police officers would preferentially stop black people more often than white people in similar circumstances. If used as the ONLY reason to detain someone, this is clearly wrong. However, profiling does provide useful clues when used as a supplement to other observations.
For instance, the left is all excited about the police in Arizona possibly ‘profiling’ illegal aliens.
In my opinion, profiling is legitimate enough in some circumstances. For instance, say you live in an area with a lot of illegal aliens, all with the same ethnic origin; if you happen to make a traffic stop for violation of a traffic law, and the subject is obviously of Mexican origin; it would make sense to check to see if they are here legally. I don’t see the problem. This isn’t being unfair, it is just being sensible.
Where I live, if you watch the local news every day, you will observe that around 80% of all crime in this area is committed by blacks. I’m not flinging stones, that is just the way it is. So, consequently, if I am in the position of approaching a group of people, and if they aren’t dressed for church, and if they happen to be black: well, I probably go to ‘7’ on my caution-meter, whereas if they were white I might go to ‘5’. This may be ‘profiling’, but it is also good common sense.
Does this make me prejudiced? I don’t think so. I don’t hate these people, nor do I have anything against them. But, where I live, the odds clearly say trouble is more likely to come from that direction. This does not mean I let my guard down for white folks, either – there are plenty of troublemakers in that bunch as well.
Let’s put this in another perspective: Suppose you are on a road trip, and you see someone thumbing a ride. Are you more likely to pick them up if they are clean, well dressed and groomed? Or if they are slovenly, weaving a little as they walk, and look like they haven’t bathed in a few days? Isn’t that choice you just made ‘profiling’?
Something to think about anyway. This hoopla the left is raising over the ‘rights’ of illegal aliens is misguided at best.