Police are important providers of essential community services. They deserve our respect and support, but when they misuse their authority, they can also harm people. Community members must be empowered with awareness and steps they can take to address profiling or other abuses of police authority when they occur.
“Racial Profiling” is designed to help students:
- define racial profiling;
- identify instances of racial profiling;
- explain why racial profiling matters, and
- present their understanding in an informative manner.
- Handout: What is Racial Profiling?
- How is racism manifested?
- What is racial profiling? Why does it matter?
- How do you explain racial profiling to someone who doesn’t know about it?
racial profiling |ˈrā sh əl ˈprōˌfīli ng |
(noun) Racial profiling occurs when law enforcement agents impermissibly use race, religion, ethnicity or national origin in deciding who to investigate.
1. Working in a group, discuss: What do I know about racial profiling? Have one group member write the group’s answers on self-adhesive notes. Then discuss: What do I want to know about racial profiling? Again, record the group’s answers on self-adhesive notes.
Have a representative from each group put the group’s notes into the appropriate column of a table on the board or chart paper that looks like this:
What I know about racial profiling
What I want to know about racial profiling
2. The Handout, What is Racial Profiling?, defines the term “racial profiling.” With your group, put examples of racial profiling on the handout. You may want to do some research to find examples of profiling based on the different characteristics identified in the definition of the term.
3. Read the rest of the handout. Look at the right-hand column of the table your class created. What questions do you have that you don’t yet have answers to? With your group, do some research to find the answers.
Your job is to teach others what you have learned about racial profiling. You may do that working by yourself, with a partner or in a small group. You may choose your format: You might want to write a news-style article or an opinion essay, or make a video or web site. Whatever form you choose, be sure you address the important points and ideas your have learned, and be sure that your presentation will be interesting and understandable to your audience.
“What is racial profiling?”
Standard 11. Understands the role of diversity in American life and the importance of shared values, political beliefs, and civic beliefs in an increasingly diverse American society
Standard 14. Understands issues concerning the disparities between ideals and reality in American political and social life.
United States History Standard 29. Understands the struggle for racial and gender equality and for the extension of civil liberties.
Benchmark 1. Understands individual and institutional influences on the civil rights movement (e.g., the origins of the postwar civil rights movement; the role of the NAACP in the legal assault on the leadership and ideologies of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X; the effects of the constitutional steps taken in the executive, judicial, and legislative branches of government; the shift from de jure to de facto segregation; important milestones in the civil rights movement between 1954 and 1965; Eisenhower’s reasons for dispatching federal troops to Little Rock in 1957)
Benchmark 4. Understands significant influences on the civil rights movement (e.g., the social and constitutional issues involved in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) and Brown v. Board of Education (1954) court cases; the connection between legislative acts, Supreme Court decisions, and the civil rights movement; the role of women in the civil rights movement and in shaping the struggle for civil rights)
United States History Standard 31. Understands economic, social, and cultural developments in the contemporary United States.
Benchmark 5. Understands how different groups attempted to achieve their goals (e.g., the grievances of racial and ethnic minorities and their reference to the nation’s charter documents to rectify past injustices, local community efforts to adapt facilities for the disabled)
Benchmark 5. Understands major contemporary social issues and the groups involved (e.g., the current debate over affirmative action and to what degree affirmative action policies have reached their goals; the evolution of government support for the rights of the disabled; the emergence of the Gay Liberation Movement and civil rights of gay Americans; continuing debates over multiculturalism, bilingual education, and group identity and rights vs. individual rights and identity; successes and failures of the modern feminist movement)
Standard 4: Gathers and uses information for research purposes
3. Uses a variety of resource materials to gather information for research topics (e.g., magazines, newspapers, dictionaries, schedules, journals, phone directories, globes, atlases, almanacs, technological sources)
2. Uses a variety of print and electronic sources to gather information for research topics (e.g., news sources such as magazines, radio, television, newspapers; government publications; microfiche; telephone information services; databases; field studies; speeches; technical documents; periodicals; Internet)
5. Synthesizes information from multiple research studies to draw conclusions that go beyond those found in any of the individual studies
Standard 7. Uses reading skills and strategies to understand and interpret a variety of informational texts
3. Summarizes and paraphrases information in texts (e.g., arranges information in chronological, logical, or sequential order; conveys main ideas, critical details, and underlying meaning; uses own words or quoted materials; preserves author’s perspective and voice)
3. Summarizes and paraphrases complex, implicit hierarchic structures in informational texts, including the relationships among the concepts and details in those structures