The Art of the Unseen

Three Challenges for Racial Profiling

Frej Klem Thomsen

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

Resumé

This article analyses the moral status of racial profiling from a consequentialist
perspective and argues that, contrary to what proponents of racial profiling
might assume, there is a prima facie case against racial profiling on consequentialist grounds. To do so it establishes general definitions of police
practices and profiling, sketches out the costs and benefits involved in racial profiling in particular and presents three challenges. The foundation challenge suggests that the shifting of burdens onto marginalized minorities may, even when profiling itself is justified, serve to prolong unjustified police practices. The valuation challenge argues that although both costs and benefits are difficult to establish, the benefits of racial profiling are afflicted with greater uncertainty than the costs, and must be comparatively discounted. Finally, the application challenge argues that using racial profiling in practice will be complicated by both cognitive and psychological biases, which together reduce the effectiveness of profiling while still incurring its costs. Jointly, it is concluded, these challenges establish a prima facie case against racial profiling, so that the real challenge consists in helping officers practice the art of the police and not see that which it is useless that they should see.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftJournal of Ethics
Vol/bind15
Udgave nummer1-2
Sider (fra-til)89-117
ISSN1382-4554
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 2010

Emneord

  • Consequentialism
  • Crime
  • Ethics
  • Police
  • Profiling
  • Race

Citer dette

Thomsen, Frej Klem. / The Art of the Unseen : Three Challenges for Racial Profiling. I: Journal of Ethics. 2010 ; Bind 15, Nr. 1-2. s. 89-117.
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The Art of the Unseen : Three Challenges for Racial Profiling. / Thomsen, Frej Klem.

I: Journal of Ethics, Bind 15, Nr. 1-2, 2010, s. 89-117.

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

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