Stereotyping And Racial Profiling Essay

744 words - 3 pages

Stereotypes can be defined as sweeping generalizations about members of a certain race, religion, gender, nationality, or other group. They are made everyday in almost every society. We develop stereotypes when we are unable or unwilling to obtain all the information we would need to make fair judgments about people or situations. By stereotyping, we assume that a person or group has certain characteristics. Quite often, we develop these ideas about people who are members of groups with which we have not had firsthand contact. Stereotyping usually leads to unfair results, such as discrimination, racial profiling, and unnecessary violence, all behaviors which need to be stopped.

A few years ago, while going on vacation, I witnessed one particular count of stereotyping as I passed through an airport. Part of the security procedure in the terminal was to take people aside and search them individually, just after they had passed through the metal detectors. As I was waiting to go through the metal detector myself, I noticed that just about every person being motioned aside was a minority. Showing expressions of embarrassment and irritation as spectators looked on, these people were patted down head-to-toe, then were forced to take off their shoes and other items of clothing if requested. I felt sorry for each one of them, and realized racial profiling was taking place. These select few were spotlighted for their ethnicity and appearance, and it was clear for almost all to see.

Imagine being seated in an airplane across from a pair of dark skinned men wearing turbans. Would you feel comfortable in that position? Most U.S. citizens would probably say no. In one instance, shortly after the events of September 11th 2001, a trio of Arabic men were forced to exit a Northwest Airlines aircraft in Minnesota after several passengers on the plane insisted they be removed. All three men had cleared security but apparently that wasn't good enough. The inconvenience they had suffered was a direct result of the fear that...

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