In reaction to the attacks in New York and New Jersey over the weekend, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has suggested that police should start using profiling to potential prevent future terrorism, according to BuzzFeed News.
The American Civil Liberties Union defines racial profiling as “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”.
The rather obvious problem with profiling is that you never know what a person’s intentions are, especially not when all you know about them is their name or ethnicity. Profiling uses a person’s race or ethnicity against them, even when there's no other reason to think they did anything wrong. It uses stereotypes and makes assumptions about entire ethnic groups, oversimplifying their cultural identity to imply that all members of that group must be a threat.
So essentially, Donald Trump wants to preemptively accuse everyone of terrorism who looks, acts or speaks like they might have come from a country known to harbor terrorists. This view fits in pretty well with his other stances, such as banning all Muslims from entering the U.S. and deporting millions of undocumented immigrants.
“Our local police, they know a lot of who these people are. They are afraid to do anything about it because they don’t want to be accused of profiling, they don’t want to be accused of all sorts of things,” Trump told the hosts of Fox & Friends.
Trump cited profiling in Israel as an example of what he believes American law enforcement should be doing to prevent terrorist attacks. He also blamed political correctness for preventing police from using profiling, and predicted that more terror attacks will occur in the United States, “because we’ve been weak. Our country has been weak.”