Religion Essay #2 - Joel Avery December 6 2007 REL-140...

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Joel Avery December 6, 2007 REL-140 Section #60042 Terrion Williamson Religion Final Paper – Unethical and Unsafe: A Bad Combination Before thoroughly researching the topic, I myself was somewhat in favor of searching a person based on race at an airport. Most people would prefer an Arab man to get searched and checked rather than a Caucasian for safety purposes. Ever since the 2001 terrorist attacks, the public’s view on Middle Eastern people has changed drastically. Most citizens believe that aiming for a specific race based on the characteristics of a likely terrorist can potentially prevent an attack. However, looking for terrorists based on race rather than suspicious behavior is an ineffective practice of counterterrorism that incurs many social and ethical consequences. While national security is our country’s highest concern in a post September 11 era, racial profiling both discriminates against individuals and actually decreases our national security. Racial profiling, the inclusion of racial or ethnic characteristics in determining whether a person is considered likely to commit a particular type of crime, clearly discriminates against certain races. Most people recognize any act of discrimination or racism to be unethical, however, the majority of the public is willing to sacrifice hurt feelings and immoral acts for personal safety. What they don’t know is that not only are they engaging in unethical discriminatory practices, but they are making our country less safe in the process as racial profiling is just a lazy and counterproductive way of fighting terrorism. In our minds, Middle Easterners blew up the World Trade Center; therefore a Middle Eastern person is most likely to strike in our next terrorist attack. This has been our state of mind since the twin towers fell. It may be a racist view, but at first thought racial stereotyping seems 1
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like a logical way to stop another terrorist attack from happening. An issue of The Boston Globe raised the question, “There are at least a million people of Middle Eastern descent in the U.S. Do we consider them all potential terrorists?” Sadly, many law enforcement officers and citizens in the United States do. In a poll surveyed by worldpublicopinion.org, results showed that 59% of the Americans surveyed have a somewhat or very unfavorable view towards Iranian people. Additionally, in a Gallup survey conducted shortly after the 2001 attacks, 57% of whites and 71% of African-Americans supported the racial profiling of Arabs and South Asians at airport security checkpoints. People know that it is morally wrong to discriminate against an entire race. However, more people are concerned with public safety rather than an airport delay for a Muslim person. Observing the statistics, U.S. citizens are willing to act unethically based on the perception that a Middle Eastern man is likely to be a terrorist.
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