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TinotopiaLog → ‘Racial’ Profiling and Airline Security (18 Jan 2002)
Friday 18 January 2002

‘Racial’ Profiling and Airline Security

Nearly everywhere I look these days, I find another person arguing in favor of ‘profiling’ people for airline security purposes, i.e. searching young Arab-looking men extra thoroughly.

A lot of these people — most of them fairly intelligent otherwise — seem to be arguing this position just to show how P.C. they aren’t.

They never address the question of what to do when terrorists realize that this is going on. What happens when the threat comes from non-young, non-Arab-looking men who also happen to be Arabs and terrorists? What if, for example, this guy had shaved and cut his hair:


He doesn’t look very Arab, does he? Yet he tried to blow up an airplane using his shoe. If you focus on guns, the bad guys will use Stanley knives. If you focus on Arabs, the Arabs will find people who don’t trip your radar. I’ve got no problem with profiling, racial or otherwise, if it works. But I don’t think it will. Keep in mind that most if not all of the September 11 terrorists fit the then-current profile — one-way tickets paid for with cash, etc. — but were not spotted.

There is a Malcolm Gladwell article from October 2001, already referred to elsewhere on this site, that talks about some of these issues.

Posted by tino at 10:00 18.01.02
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I didn’t understand what are you trying to say?

Posted by: at March 30, 2003 10:15 AM

I found this article to be useful in my reearch. I am doing a speech on racial profiling.

Posted by: Rashard Elliott at April 21, 2004 10:18 AM