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Posts from May 2013

Cracking The Code

Implicit Bias and Racial Profiling

My Interest In racial profiling was sparked in 1999 when I read an article by a prominent legal scholar arguing that, while the policy was flawed on Constitutional grounds, it nevertheless represented a rational policing strategy. Having been steeped in the study of racial stereotyping, I was not ready to accept the assertion that profiling is rational. Racial profiling is stereotype-based policing, making judgments about individuals based on traits that are presumed to be prevalent in that individual’s racial, ethnic, gender, or other group. It occurred to me that the very evidence that drove stereotypes associating Blacks with drug crime (the typically profiled crime) was likely to be skewed by profiling itself. To the extent that police were stopping and searching Blacks at a higher rate, they would be arresting and incarcerating them at higher rates. This would skew the criminal justice statistics that people were pointing to.

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