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Profiling is a process of identifying a person according to physical characteristics such as skin coloration, facial features, clothes, language, car driven, etc. This is considered by some people to be wrong. They seem to focus on what they say is the wrong behavior of police.
I remember when I was a college student I had as a class assignment to conduct a survey of future sales of Zenith color TV sets. I developed my survey, distributed the surveys and waited for the surveys to be returned by mail. No surveys were returned. I talked with my professor about what I did. I had selected houses to leave the surveys according to what is now called profiling. My professor helped me to understand that I did not select an area of the city where people were affluent enough to be able to purchase the expensive color TV sets. The professor helped me select an area of the city where the people lived that would be considered wealthy enough to be a buyer of the color TV sets.
I distributed another set of surveys to the people that lived in the more affluent residential areas. I received an adequate number of surveys that enable me to prepare an adequate report of the future sales of Zenith color TV sets. A business representative that sold Zenith color TV sets told me that the result of my survey was in the range of what the company had forecasted.
The criteria I used to select houses to distributed the surveys were the residential area where the houses were located, size of the houses, appearance of the houses, if a house had a swimming pool, and the number and model of cars parked in the driveway. I distributed the surveys about mid morning on a Saturday. Profiling techniques help me determine where I distributed the surveys and helped me to get an “A” for the class. Was I wrong?
Is a policeman wrong when he uses erratic driving behavior to decide if he should investigate the driver of a specific car traveling on a city street? When an officer stops a car, he uses behavior traits to determine if he is to give the driver a sobriety test for determining how much alcohol the driver has consumed. Should the officer use the driver’s slurred words, smell of alcohol, glazed eyes, open alcohol containers in the car, driver not able to focus on the conversation with the officer, etc. to think the driver may be drunk. To me the use of the behavior traits is profiling. Why is the use of one set of traits profiling and other traits not profiling?
I have never read about a person accused of profiling by the way he or she selects a person to ask for a date. When I was dating, I would be considered to be profiling according to how I reached the point of asking a woman for a date. I think at times the evaluation of the person was a combination of conscious reaction and subconscious reaction. Some traits that would be considered are the way a person looked, dressed, acted, age, talked, presented herself, smoked, demonstrated personality, what I knew about the person, etc. She was, also, profiling when she decided to accept or reject my offer of a date.
Dale “The Saint” Lee
A former resident of Pot Neck, Tennessee
Date last modified, September 10, 2010
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