Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2001

Abstract

In recent years, there have been several widely-publicized cases in which racial profiling became police brutality. As well, there have been scores of famous Black men who have offered their personal accounts as victims of racial profiling. All of these have helped to propel the issue onto the nation's front burner. The varied responses to racial profiling indicate the range of groups affected by and concerned about the practice. Notably, this includes former President Bill Clinton, who shared his belief that racial profiling is a national problem. The issue of racial profiling has evoked a wide range of policy responses, including legislation, political commentary, community protests, and empirical study. The groundswell of activity around the topic invites a preliminary assessment and critique of the state of the existing literature on racial profiling. This article, divided into four parts, provides a status report on racial profiling research. The first section discusses and analyzes how the term "racial profiling" has been defined. The second part categorizes the legislation, federal and state, introduced in response to the problem of racial targeting. This section also provides an overview of the empirical research on racial profiling. The third part includes a critique and assessment of the existing literature and offers a road map for future legislation and research on racial profiling.

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