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Some Obvious Points about ‘Profiling’


As Corner readers know, I’m no fan of racial and ethnic profiling (politically correct or otherwise). But it’s not clear that looking at people with a particular geo-religious background, when we are at war against a violent organization with a particular geo-religious agenda, is profiling at all: It’s more like looking for a man in a red windbreaker when the victim of a mugging says his assailant was wearing a red windbreaker. Also, looking at people who travel to certain parts of the world (known to train terrorists), or who belong to groups with a particular agenda and ideology (even if there is a religious angle to that agenda and ideology), is not racial/ethnic/religion profiling. And, finally, even when there is racial/ethnic/religion profiling, it’s justified if the stakes are high enough. That’s not to say it should be done casually or sloppily or high-handedly (all of which can be counterproductive), but it’s also something that law-abiding folks — even those who belong to a profiled group — ought to understand, accept, and indeed welcome when innocent lives (including their own) are at risk.


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