NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

An Acceptable Face to "Racial Profiling"

October 29, 2001

Prior to the events of Sept. 11, political correctness required that "racial profiling" be deplored. And while the terrorists who made a name for themselves on that date were all Arab and Islamic, it should go without saying that not all Arabs and worshipers of Islam are terrorists -- and in fact few are.

But it would be folly to ignore the link in the search for terrorists in our midst. In fact, there is evidence black Americans and Arab Americans are even more willing to support racial profiling than the U.S. population in general.

  • Seventy-one percent of black respondents in a recent Gallup poll, and 54 percent in a Zogby poll, said they wanted Arab-looking travelers singled out for extra security at airports.
  • When the Detroit News -- whose readership includes one of the nation's largest Arab-American enclaves -- conducted its own survey last month, it found that even Arabs want look-alikes checked out more closely.
  • Some 61 percent of those respondents said "extra questioning or inspections are justified."

Source: Jason L. Riley, "'Racial Profiling' and Terrorism," Wall Street Journal, October 24, 2001.

For WSJ text


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