Racial profiling is a practice of law enforcement in which law enforcement officials substitute religion, national origin, ethnicity, or race, to any level, for possible cause in deciding if to be involved in enforcement and not based on information or evidence that ascertain that the person has been involved in any criminal behavior. Racial profiling based on this definition, and based on its nature is an ethical matter. This implies that discretion is the right to act or decide based on one’s own judgment. Certainly, an individual contains a right to make her or his own judgments. However, if the central ideas and belief of a person are unethical or immoral then the judgment of such individual will be distorted. Racial profiling is founded on the invalid presumption that a certain ethnicity or race engages more in misconduct as compared to other ethnicities or races. Therefore racial profiling is unethical issue in which innocent people are subjected into harassment and discrimination by officer based on their races and ethnicity (Okoszko, 2012).
Ethical and Moral Dimension of Racial Profiling
Racial profiling practice aggravates racism in society, and it results to harassment and abuse of racial minorities. It is the product of immoral and unethical beliefs and ideas, where by it holds the belief that particular races are more prone to criminal and violence behavior without actual evidence to support the claim. In reality police have a duty to enforce law. They are required to invest their time in collecting enough evidence to be able to arrest anyone. In this regard, people should only be arrested based on the information regarding their criminal behavior. However, social profiling pushes officers into unnecessary stops and search in the traffic stops and on the street based on people ethnicity and race and not based on criminal information. This misleads the officers’ law enforcement goals and thus, race profiling can only be regarded as ethical issue. The police code of conduct demand that the police has a duty to keep peace over disorder and violence, and to safeguard the innocent. In this regard, racial profiling is unconstitutional, immoral and unethical (Risse & Zeckhauser, n.d.).
The three code of conduct that can be applied in this case include code of professional ethics which refers to how people interact and behave with their workmates in the professional ground. Code of personal ethics refers to the manner in which humans uphold their integrity, how they interact with others and how they behave. Code of moral ethics is the systems value in which we believe and live in. Morality is people conscience which provides people the aptitude to establish what is wrong and what is right.
Other theories that can be used to explain this include normative theory, virtue theory, deontology, and consequentialist theory. Normative ethics refers to that ethics or moral philosophy part that is concerned with principles of what is morally wrong or right. For instance, judging people based on how they look and punishing innocent people based on their past history cannot be considered to be morally right. Virtue ethics is concern on the agent moral character. An agent has to possess particular character traits which are manifested on the individuals’ action. Basically, police force is an agency that has rules and regulation which defines it. The high level of racial profiling in America is what by virtue ethics can be used to define the immoral nature of the police force in the country. Deontology theories center on the act being carried out. Based on this theory, particular forms of act are intrinsically bad or good. For Instance racial profiling is bad and nothing not even the number of criminal cases it answers can make it right. According to consequentialist theories, people always have to act in the manner that leads to the best outcomes. This justifies any act whether bad or good just to ensure better outcome. This could be used to justify racial profiling (Moral Philosophy, 2009).
How People Judge Other When they meet
People judge others differently when they meet for the first time. They normally use the outer look to judge an individual. They mostly concentrate on their color, the height, their weight, gender, age, and clothing among other external looks. This kind of judgment can be very deceiving since it can easily result into a high level of biasness based on previous experience with individuals with the same look. This is what has highly contributed to unethical act of racial profiling in the police department in America.
Why Do People Judge others based on their Looks and Presentation
Basically people judges others based on how similar people or those who looked similar to them behaved in the past. For instance, if one meets an individual of a certain look who is kind and he is compelled to believe that all individuals with that look are kind. In this regard, he will consider or expect all individual with such looks to be kind. People also judge others based on what has been filled in their mind by those that influence them for instance media, parents or people in a certain locality. In this regard, people can stereotype others based on what has been fed to them. This is what the police department has been considering when profiling people based on their skin color.