Past Event

Café Society: Racial Profiling: Neighborhood & National Security

From the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, to selective searches of Latino individuals in the name of immigration enforcement today, the issue of racial profiling has been a part of many critical discussions in our nation’s history. With the onset of the War on Terrorism however, these issues have gained a new currency. With calls for the selective deportation of Muslims in the United Kingdom, to those for stronger immigration enforcement here in the U.S., this issue is fundamental to the debate over the proper way to protect ourselves.

Critics point out that global terror networks are just that, global, and the belief that singling out those who appear to be from the Middle East will somehow enhance security is false. The other side contends that it is important to deal with these issues realistically. They argue that the fact that the terrorist movement inimical to the western world has its roots and logistical center in the Middle East makes it important to scrutinize people from this region carefully.

Where does the appropriate balance of civil rights versus public safety lie? If there is a possible benefit to taking someone’s country of national origin into account when deciding what level of scrutiny he or she receives before boarding a plane, is it acceptable to do so? Given the geographic reach of today’s terrorist threat and the myriad backgrounds of its adherents, is it possible that any one profile can prove accurate? How does this compare to the profiling of people from other racial backgrounds?

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For more informaiton, please contact Kristin Millikan at 312.422.5580.