November 14, 2013
A lot has been made in recent years about profiling certain ethnic groups. And living in Arizona, we hear, constantly, about the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and America’s toughest sheriff – Joe Arpaio, and how he allows his officers to profile those who are of Hispanic descent.
But is this fair? Literally, are Hispanic background individuals being singled out for a closer look for illegal immigration, because 75% of illegals are Hispanic? Or are Muslims in New York City singled out because most terrorism incidents have been from Muslims? Or possibly black kids because they wear ‘hoodies’ and innumerable crimes have been committed from people, kids and adults, wearing them? I have your answer right here. YES!
Now let me go a bit further on this issue and explain;
We all profile people every second, minute, & single day of the year. Whether we believe we do or not, we profile them. Here are some examples for you to think about of ways we profile someone or groups;
All of those damned ‘rent-a-cops’ who just want to make your job harder
The man walking down the street, who may wobble – he’s drunk
The teenager who is wearing their pants on their butt and can’t walk right –gang banger
What about the idiot who cuts you off in traffic?
Or the brat in the grocery store throwing a tantrum?
What about the employee with red rheumy eyes?
The person who can’t seem to concentrate very well
Possibly the security officer with food on their shirt
The person who rants and raves against everything
The young boy who profiles a gorgeous classmate
The elderly people in the mall who look warily at a group of youths being loud and boisterous
The job applicant who doesn’t wear appropriate clothes to the interview
The ‘hard-assed’ security officer at the entrance to an office
The person who never smiles or goes out with co-workers
These are all examples of the way we profile people. There may be good reasons for any and all of these groups doing what there are doing. But all we do is profile them. And after we profile them, then that profile sticks in our mind, possibly forever. At least until it is changed by the person or group.
Look at your own lives and see who you profile every day. Do you remember the old cliché’ ‘Making a good first impression’? Well, that is the basis for profiling someone. If they make a bad impression then we are profiling them. Maybe not intentionally, but…
Every single day we make hundreds, possibly thousands, of profiles of people we see. Some of them may be valid and others may not. Some of our profiling will target bad people and unfortunately other profiling will render judgment on good people that isn’t fair.
In the security field, it’s not necessarily the right thing to do to profile someone, yet we instruct our officers and managers to profile employees, vendors, & visitors one way or another. But taking a different perspective on this, do we have to profile others in order to protect the company, client, employees, visitors, and even the United States?
Unequivocally YES we do! Because if we don’t then we’re not doing our job. Do we need, as security professionals, to temper this with common sense and training so we don’t accuse someone recklessly of theft, terrorism, or other hooliganish behavior? YES WE DO!
Take a look at the items above and see where we can profile inadvertently. Then look at the fact that we may be mistaken and we need to take a second look and dismiss any threat. All I ask is that next time you begin to accuse someone of profiling, look back and see who YOU have profiled in the past hour or day yourself, and why.
Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on workplace/school violence prevention. He has appeared in more than 125 media outlets in the past 30 years of being in the field and 20 studying, writing, and speaking about WPV/SV.
He utilizes his years of field knowledge to give real life examples of incidents pulled from both his own experiences and the news headlines. Let him do this for you as well. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or visit the website at;
www.Facebook.com/One is too Many