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Thread: Simple question: race as part of a profile

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    Simple question: race as part of a profile

    Alright, I'm curious on this one. Now, anyone reading the plethora of full out profiling threads will know that I'm against wide spread blanket racial/religious profiling as a means of detection for further screening. That said, I've stated my belief that most people would be understanding of a reasonable amount of cautiousness regarding race/religion but the issue is those pushing for it are pushing for it in far to much of an extreme, unethical, unconstitutional, and inefficient way.

    That said, here would be my hypothetical question...

    You have three people, an 80 year old white woman, a 10 year old black boy, and a 30 year old middle eastern man.

    As they come through the security line ALL things regarding a standard profile of what people should be looking for in regards to warnings sides are equal (IE if one looks nervous, they all look nervous. If one is on a watch list, they all are on the watch list. If one is going one way, they all are going one way. If one has no signs, they all have no signs, etc).

    Would you agree or disagree with the notion that in the current climate you would be okay with the various TSA employees acting at a slightly more cautious level with the 30 year old middle eastern man since the most prevelant and consistant profile of a terrorist threatening the United States currently is young men, often of some sort of middle eastern decent or obvious religious affiliation?

    What I mean by slightly more cautious would be this....

    If there are no other warning signs (BDO's don't detremine any odd behavioral cues. There was no indication of any watch lists. Their tickets are standard tickets. They're baggage is normal. They paid through normal means. They are not traveling alone. Etc etc etc) then at most perhaps a TSO may look at the screen a bit closer as carry on goes into the luggage or something of the sort with the Middle Eastern gentleman than the others.

    If there were numerous warning signs, the TSO's may be more apt to go for a slightly more higher level of screening on the middle eastern gentleman than the others.

    etc.

    Additionally, if for some reason the 80 year old woman or the 10 year old child showed warning signs and yet the 30 year old middle eastern person did not, then without question the two showing warning signs should be given the stricter view.

    This is not blanket racial/religious profiling, ala "every muslim looking person must get a full body search and cavity search' or that "muslims must go in another line" or "arabs will be given further screening" where every single arabic person is immdietely considered a definitive high search threat.

    But more, the acknowledgement of the LIKELY make up of our currnet security threat as a minor facet in a much, much larger depiction of a profile of the type of person we're looking for (and mind you, "profiling" in this broad range is standard and useful practice in law enforcement).

    Broadscale profilining of race or religion causes it to become such a dominant factor that you miss important signs from those not fitting that portion of the profile. However, completely excluding it from your thought process also denies reality and tries to restrict gut instinct and common sense.

    To give other example. If a shopkeep is in a neighborhood where a specific ethnic group is known to cause troubles for shop owners routinely, would it be wrong...or stupid...for that shop keeper to keep a slightly more watchful eye on a member of said minority that also had other characteristics that fit with someone looking to cause trouble (are they wear loose or baggy clothing that could conceal a weapon, is it a group being extremely loud and rude, are they immdietely messing with merchandise, are they wearing any gang colors, etc) more so than he would on an 80 year old woman outside of that racial group coming in picking up some tic tacs? Would it be wrong or stupid for him to immedietely demand to frisk each minority that comes in or pull a gun on them the whole time they're there?

    In my mind, the first option is reasonable. You're not going so overboard that you start grossly infringing upon their rights and being unfair to them yet at the same time are not being ignorant of facts and the current climate. The latter option is completely unreasonable, because the fact is that the vast majority that come in likely aren't going to be problems and you move past the point of reasonable vigilence into overreaction to the detiriment of others.

    So there's the general question. As a minor factor of a much larger profile, of which it would only call for at most a very slight increase in cautiousness, would you have issue with someone using race/religion/etc when dealing with security.

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    Re: Simple question: race as part of a profile

    Yes, it is okay to include race or religion as part of a broader tactic of criminal profiling.
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    Re: Simple question: race as part of a profile

    Profiling won't be effective if basic intelligence information is ignored by authorities. The Nigerian man is the perfect example of that. We should use profiling as a last resort when all other methods are not delivering accurate information. As it stands, that isn't necessary.

    The Nigerian man was about as obvious of a red flag as you can get. Even his own father reported him to U.S. authorities.

    It seems like spectators in the latest incident are not paying attention to the facts of the case, and are instead deferring to their political agendas. We need to look at the facts of the most recent case before we jump to the conclusion that we need to racially profile.

    What we need is for people in the current system to do their jobs.

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    Re: Simple question: race as part of a profile

    So is the poll answer "Yes, I would have a problem" or "Yes, I think we should profile based on Race"?

    Just want to know before I answer, because Yes I have a Problem with that, and No, I don't think we should profile based on Race, in ANY situation.

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    Re: Simple question: race as part of a profile

    Quote Originally Posted by Orius View Post
    Profiling won't be effective if basic intelligence information is ignored by authorities. The Nigerian man is the perfect example of that. We should use profiling as a last resort when all other methods are not delivering accurate information. As it stands, that isn't necessary.

    The Nigerian man was about as obvious of a red flag as you can get. Even his own father reported him to U.S. authorities.

    It seems like spectators in the latest incident are not paying attention to the facts of the case, and are instead deferring to their political agendas. We need to look at the facts of the most recent case before we jump to the conclusion that we need to racially profile.

    What we need is for people in the current system to do their jobs.
    Orius, I must ask if you actually read my post or if you simply saw "profiling" in the name and immedietely jumped to a conclussion. I ask this because of things you've said such as:

    "We should use profiling as a last resort when all other methods are not delivering accurate information."

    Where in my example did I suggest this wouldn't be the case. In my example I was not advocating this as a first, or second, or third line of defense. This was stated as a MINOR factor in a wide range of more important factors that should be taken into account first, with terror databases SPECIFICALLY mentioned as something that would be considered first.

    You wish to condemn and rant about people not paying attention, while it appears you yourself refuse to actually read what people have written and have a legitimate and worth while conversation instead choosing to simply see a word and immedietely leap to conclussions and base your argument not statements of the people you're talking to but your own prejudices and stereotypes.

    No where did I say this would be a first line of defense, rather I repeatedly pointed it out as minor and put it as a sort of "last resort" or "thing to break a tie" type of scenario. No where did I say the other methods should be ignored. No where did I say this would solve all problems or make the system completely and utterly perfect. You're arguing against a straw man, kindly take said strawman and find somewhere else to play with it or deal with the things actually written please.

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    Re: Simple question: race as part of a profile

    Quote Originally Posted by ScottD View Post
    So is the poll answer "Yes, I would have a problem" or "Yes, I think we should profile based on Race"?

    Just want to know before I answer, because Yes I have a Problem with that, and No, I don't think we should profile based on Race, in ANY situation.
    It'd basically be:

    "Yes, I agree with the notion that race or religion as a minor portion of a much broader profile that at best would have a slight affect on the level of scrunity giving to an individual"

    And are you seriously in stating that race should not be part of a profile in ANY situation? Please answer, I'd be interested to hear you assure me of that being your stance and then I'd have some more questions.

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    Re: Simple question: race as part of a profile

    Yes - an even more interesting would have test would have made the 30-yo the white woman, because age is a factor, isn't it?
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    Re: Simple question: race as part of a profile

    Quote Originally Posted by jackalope View Post
    Yes - an even more interesting would have test would have made the 30-yo the white woman, because age is a factor, isn't it?
    Actually, indeed. I think age should be a factor and if it was a 30 yo white woman and a 80 yo white woman, with ALL other things being equal, I would be fine with slightly more scruitiny being placed on the 30 year old over the 80 year old.

    Why?

    The common profile of a terrorist that is a threat to his country is generally between 20 and 40 years of age.

    This doesn't mean that "OMG! She's 30, give her a cavity search", but that simply I would have no issue with a slightly higher level of attention be paid to the one over the other.

    Great point Jack.

    At the same time, Man, middle eastern, 80 vs woman, 30, white, would still likely verge onto Middle Eastern man a bit more as age has varied more widely than race has, and sex has varied the least thus far.

    Again, this does not mean you ignore the other. It also does not mean you GREATLY change your level of scrutiny, it may even be simply a subconsious change. If you make any one factor of such a broad crop of potential people (race, sex, age, etc) then you become blind to more important factors because of it.

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    Re: Simple question: race as part of a profile

    Quote Originally Posted by Zyphlin View Post
    Actually, indeed. I think age should be a factor and if it was a 30 yo white woman and a 80 yo white woman, with ALL other things being equal, I would be fine with slightly more scruitiny being placed on the 30 year old over the 80 year old.

    Why?

    The common profile of a terrorist that is a threat to his country is generally between 20 and 40 years of age.

    This doesn't mean that "OMG! She's 30, give her a cavity search", but that simply I would have no issue with a slightly higher level of attention be paid to the one over the other.

    Great point Jack.

    At the same time, Man, middle eastern, 80 vs woman, 30, white, would still likely verge onto Middle Eastern man a bit more as age has varied more widely than race has, and sex has varied the least thus far.

    Again, this does not mean you ignore the other. It also does not mean you GREATLY change your level of scrutiny, it may even be simply a subconsious change. If you make any one factor of such a broad crop of potential people (race, sex, age, etc) then you become blind to more important factors because of it.

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    Re: Simple question: race as part of a profile

    For example in that....

    I would think of things like a one way ticket, a place on a watch list, and even nervous behavior as all more telling and more important factors when determining how much scrutiny to give someone.

    Why?

    Because the total sample size of any one of those is likely to be far less than the total sample size of "middle eastern" people or "muslims" or "men" or "20-40 year olds" or any other sort of generalized human trait. As such, the presence of one of the before mentioned traits is likely to be more telling then if someone has brownish skin or if he has a muslim sounding name. Which is why I would say if someone was on a watch list or was acting extremely nervous, but was a white 50 year old man, I'd want our security to look at him closer than I would a 30 year old middle eastern man showing no serious warning signs

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