We’ve all been there; in line at the airport waiting to make it through security, where it is blatantly obvious that airport security officers are paying the majority of their attention to individuals of Middle Eastern descent. Racial profiling has become a common practice amongst many law enforcement agencies, especially among airport security agencies across the nation in order to “protect and serve”. The problem associated with racial profiling expands beyond the fact that racial profiling is politically, racially and morally unethical but in reality, racial profiling is a harsh and insufficient law enforcement method. Racial profiling within an airport setting in theory is supposed to protect airline passengers from violence but in reality racial profiling is doing more harm than good. By focusing their efforts on racial profiling the airline law enforcement agencies and personal are being distracted from more practical security measures. Along with the misappropriated efforts of airline security agencies, racial profiling prevents the designated security personnel from protecting the entirety of its passengers by only serving those of non Middle Eastern decent. Combined with the aforementioned principles, racial profiling is an obvious encroachment on the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Ultimately with regards to the aforesaid premises, racial profiling should not be used to do security screening of airline passengers.
In theory, the use of race while profiling for security reasons is not completely irrational. Professor R. Richard Banks of UC Hastings College of Law stated, “Nobody objects to police taking into account a suspect’s race when it is provided by a witness to a crime” (Amar, 1). While this application of race seems innocent enough, racial profiling still, no matter how you look at it singles out particular ethnicities. With that being said, racial profiling should not be utilized throughout the screening of airline passengers rather, alternative screening and security techniques should be explored. According to a 2005 study done by the Missouri Attorney General, when suspects are apprehended by means of suspicion rather than race, law enforcement, in the end detain more suspects. Ultimately for the sake of racial fairness and the overall safety of all airline passengers alternative security approaches beyond racial profiling should be applied in these situations.
Racial profiling is utilized in airports by law enforcement in order to protect airline passengers. Although the original intent of racial profiling is to increase the safety and security of airline passengers, racial profiling in reality only protects a fraction of airline users. Law enforcement agencies are responsible for the protection and safety of the entire community, not just whites. When an airline practices racial profiling they are essentially sending the message that whites are honest citizens who should not be suspect of any criminal suspicion. While racial profiling within airports illustrates a positive connotation of whites, it in turn places the majority of the blame on non-whites, in particular individuals of Middle Eastern decent. Along with the unfortunate reality that racial profiling creates with regards to the incomplete safety of airline passengers, it ultimately turns law enforcements agencies against racially diverse communities (whether it be airline passengers or a physical community). Racial profiling essentially sets law enforcement and racially diverse communities on opposing teams. An airline security agency’s duty is to protect the general welfare of all airline users. Through the application of racial profiling, airline security agencies have strayed far away from their original intent. In order to fulfill their duties, airline security agencies must apply security measures that are inclusive to all races and ethnicities.
Racial profiling has become a hot topic in light of recent terrorist attacks due to the supposed connection between an individual’s Middle Eastern ethnicity and their affiliation with certain terrorist groups. Whether or not this supposed connection between one’s race and terrorist group affiliation is accurate, racial profiling is in strict violation with the United States Constitution. The 14th amendment of the U.S. Constitution blatantly states, “That no state may deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws”. Racial profiling is defined as a form of discrimination by which law enforcement uses a person’s race or cultural background as the primary reason to suspect that the individual has broken the law (Amar, 3). It is blatantly stated within the definition of racial profiling that racial profiling is based off of the ideal of unequal protection, which completely contradicts the basis of the14th amendment. Racial profiling particularly in an airport setting results in whites being treated as honest law abiding citizens. As compared to non-whites (particularly Middle Eastern individuals) are less likely to be perceived as law-abiding citizens and more likely to be detained by security personnel. Once again, racial profiling as an effort to ensure safety amongst all airline passengers has fallen short due to its incompatibility with the ideal of equal protection.
The original intent and purpose of racial profiling in an airport setting was to protect the overall welfare of airline passengers. With the recent increase in terrorist attacks, non-white individuals, particularly those of Middle Eastern decent have become the target of racial profilers as a security measure made by airline security. Although the original intent of racial profiling within an airport was to protect airline passengers, it has proven to cause more harm than good. Racial profiling is far from an airline security panacea, and by focusing their efforts on racial profiling, airline security agencies are distracted from much better and inclusive security approaches. Along with its ineffectiveness as a security approach, racial profiling also creates a divide between racially diverse communities (airline passengers) and law enforcement because racial profiling tends to paint a negative picture of all individuals who are non-white. Ultimately, coupled with its ineffectiveness as a security measure, racial profile is in complete violation with the 14th amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Taking into consideration all of the aforementioned premises, racial profiling is ineffective as a security measure and altogether immoral, therefore it should not be utilized as a passenger screening technique in airports.