The Failure of Racial Profiling

Written by Lisa Wade; Originally published at Sociological Images

A recent protest against stop-and-frisk policies inspired to re-post this data on the disproportionate rates with which Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics are stopped by police… and the total failure of this form of racial profiling. New data is included at the end.

Jay Livingston at Montclair SocioBlog discussed the two figures below (full report here). The first shows that Black and Hispanic drivers are more likely to be stopped by Los Angeles Police than White drivers. The second shows that, when stopped, if searched, police are more likely to find weapons and drugs on Whites than on either Blacks or Hispanics. Conclusion: Blacks and Hispanics are being racially profiled by the L.A.P.D. and racial profiling does not work. Data from New York City in 2008 tells a similar story.

The New York Civil Liberties Union reports that the NYPD stopped 161,000 people in the first quarter of 2011. A record number. Eighty-four percent of those stopped were Black or Latino. The Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit, claiming that the practice is unconstitutional.

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