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.
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.