Stereotyping, class will possess a feature that an


Stereotyping, especially racial stereotyping,
is a significant and realistic social issue. Many of the world’s greatest conflicts are a result of
racial stereotypes- today on the island of Fiji- Polynesian Fijians negatively view
Indian Fijians; and Christians and Muslims on many Indonesian islands regard
each other as corrupt. Such stereotypical views are held not for any
considerations of the qualities of individuals, but because of ignorant assumptions.
According to Doctor John Pearn at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Brisbane
Australia, stereotyping is defined as “the attribution of a probability that any subject in a whole
population or an entire class will possess a feature that an observer has
encountered in one, or a few early representatives of that class”(Pearn 59).  People
who have often been victims of stereotyping are impacted on a self-esteem
level, the way they act and the way they view others that stereotype them; this
not only perpetuates the continuation of stereotyping but also reinforces
prejudice from generation to generation. The social and cultural aspects
regarding stereotype may vary across different regions, however, racial
stereotype tends to result in degraded social perceptions and cultural
conflicts. According to the theory of social disorganization postulated by Shaw
and McKay in 1942 , it attempts to explain the contribution of community
conditions and social structure to the increasing crime rates and degradation
of moral values. Community conditions may include low standards of living,
quality of life and racial discrimination which all contribute to changes in
behavior and moral decline. Although racial stereotype and profiling have
become a norm in today’s American society, the ethical implications suggest
that negative social perceptions ,formed as a result of stereotyping, can
affect almost all facets of  life, which may
also be reinforced via technology.

Profiling
in Law/Crime

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            In the last three years, the practice of incorporating
race as a factor in determining who the police interact with has come under arduous
criticism. Racial profiling as defined by the American Civil Liberties Union is
“the discriminatory practice by law enforcement officials of targeting
individuals for suspicion of crime based on the individual’s race, ethnicity,
religion or national origin”. Advocates state that the practice violates the
fundamental human rights and that the practice should be eliminated from
society. However, the question is how does this theory relate to the ethical
principles and does it pose a moral dilemma? Ethics call for equal rights and
respect among all with no regard to attributes such as race, clan, ethnicity or
religion. According to Steven N. Durlauf from the University of Wisconsin
Department of Economics, the normative theory asserts that there is no set of
morals which are completely acceptable or universal and that each culture has
their own way of life. This theory , therefore, discredits racial profiling as
it generalizes that all people share the same views about life, virtue,
and  morality. Thus, according to this
perspective , racial profiling in regards to law and crime is not justifiable and
instead poses negative social consequences, such as ethnic fears, lack of self
esteem, and inferiority of those targeting.  Former President William J Clinton relied on
such an argument  in order to establish a
Presidential action ordering an investigation into the extent to which federal
agencies practice racial profiling. He called the practice “morally
indefensible” and “in fact the opposite of good police work where actions are
based on hard facts, not stereotypes”.  However, some supporters of racial profiling
suggest it as an essential part of the safety and security of the country , as Harvard
Law School professor Randall Kennedy acknowledges, “racial profiling is a
sensible, statistically-based tool that enables the police to focus their energies
efficiently for the purpose of providing protection against crime to
law-abiding folk.” Although, their assumptions are based on the protection  of “law abiding folk” the discriminate
practice is not justifiable since race is seemingly irrelevant to the prospect
of an individual committing a crime,  thus, it is unfair to create an inequality
based on the false assumption that it does. Racial profiling not only furthers
the racial inequality of citizens, but it also promotes a negative social perception
creating an unjust inferiority in minority races.

 

 

           

 

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