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Profiling: It's not JUST about race

Updated on August 1, 2013

It's natural

When you hear the word profiling, first thought is about the negative aspects of race relations. True, this IS where you hear the word the most, but you'd be surprised how much you profile every day and it has nothing to do with race.

When we are between the ages of 7-10 months, we start developing a fear of strangers. It's natural and it's actually our first experience at profiling.

When a strange face suddenly appears, the baby, at this stage of development, starts the assessing process, looking at the characteristics, posturing and sounds coming from this strange individual and, if not feeling comfortable with the unknown, clings to his/her parent or caregiver. It doesn't mean, that the stranger is dangerous of course, but with the limited information the baby has to go on (as it's profiling abilities are in the infancy stage as well) it assumes danger until it sees that everything is o.k.

Even Santa gets profiled

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Think carefully before you decide

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You profiled your honey!

When you're looking for that "someone special" you put your profiling focus into high gear. Every asset is looked at as well as what you perceive to be "flaws". When you first meet a person, your first impression is your profile of them. It may not be an accurate assessment, (and usually isn't), but that's why first impressions are so important. It could be the difference between the love of your life.....or your biggest regret, the one that got away.

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Assessing your situation through profiling

Profiling has this definition from Dictionary.com: "The use of personal characteristics or behavior patterns to make generalizations about a person, as in gender profiling ."

Imagine a woman walking by herself down a quiet street after sunset. Coming from the other direction she sees one of the following (both scenarios are people she doe not know):

  1. An older woman holding the hand of a very small child.
  2. Three young men, of a nationality other than hers, laughing a joking with each other.

Most likely the older woman with the small child wouldn't warrant any concern. But what about the other? Is the same level of comfort felt in that situation as well? It's not that the three men are going to attack her, but in profiling them, and not having any more information other then what is presented in that short amount of time, she decides to cross the street to avoid any possible situation. Is that racial profiling, common sense or both? You'd probably say common sense, but what if the nationality of the men was your own? Would it feel then, more like racial profiling?

A while ago a friend of mine who is black and two of our other friends went into a restaurant to have breakfast. There was only one couple waiting before us and the restaurant wasn't busy. Before the receptionist came back from seating the couple, another party of four walked into the restaurant. When the receptionist came back she sat the party of four before seating us (this restaurant doesn't take reservations). My friends didn't seem to notice as they were busy talking amongst themselves, but I couldn't help but notice the slight.

We learn to be racial. It's not something we are born with. We enter in this world with a love and understanding for everyone. That is fact. But through our relationships, and the environment in which we live we either are taught or see by example that a perfect world this is not, that certain people are deemed not worthy to be equal even though there is no other evidence of this other then what "others" say.

We all experience racial profiling differently, depending on our own nationality. As a white woman, I have not walked in the shoes of a black woman, or any other minority in this country, but I have seen injustice being done and can easily see how racial profiling can be so emotionally charged. We all have every right to be treated equal and as a country have come a long way in the last fifty years, why? Because people started to relate on a personal level to others discrimination and things changed .....and so it will continue.

You have freedom and liberty

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Sometimes Racial profiling can't be helped

When we think of profiling, we tend to think of it in a negative term because racial profiling is often in the news.

The problem is not in general profiling, as stated earlier, we do this all the time to everyone we meet. It's a necessary assessment to our interactions with others as well as in keeping ourselves safe. Our county is no different. Founded on immigrants, there is no other country in the entire world who accepts all people and nationalities without prejudice. America offers a plethora of assistance in aid and guidance for those who need it. However, America is a country that also must be vigilant in the care and safety of it's people in this increasingly dangerous world. We hear of the injustice of people being racially profiled by the law enforcement, and of course as with anything there are abuses for sure, but here in the U.S. everyone gets a voice, here, there is no censorship, people all have a say if they feel injustice. Is that the case in other countries? Why do people flock to this country from everywhere around the globe? Because, there is no better place for freedom then in America.

It's a very slippery slop when border patrol and city cops such as in Arizona are severely criticized for racial profiling when according to the US census bureau 30% of Mexicans are legal citizens living in Arizona and another 6% (from the Federation for American Immigration Reform or FAIR) are illegally living there, not to mention the additional influx of illegals crossing from Mexico on their way to another state. When a population such as Arizona has this big a ratio of one nationality there will be a much higher vigilance to inspection then for that same nationality in Calmar Iowa. It's obvious that the more an area has of a specific nationality the higher chance of inspection. So, yes, it's an inconvenience that the legal Hispanic citizens of Arizona must endure inspection from time to time, but unfortunately that is the price to pay when living in an area where illegal crossings and crime are so serious.

Border police are about our safety, not profiling

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    • PersonalLists profile image

      PersonalLists 3 years ago from Belgium

      First I thought that profiling was all about gaining background knowledge of a criminal, not knowing that I profile people everyday.

      This is a very interesting hub which shows us that everyone profiles everyone in a conscious way or not.

      Thank you for sharing this information with us!

    • profile image

      Niku 3 years ago

      We have to live our lives as experience and probability dictate. Call it "profiling" or call it "common-sense," it doesn't matter. We have no choice, we must deal with the world as we see it.

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