Over the past few months there has been more than a few notable incidents where profiling has raised its ugly head. And of course living in Arizona, I get a lot of these kinds of stories. But they have occurred in every state in the Union.
From Ferguson Missoura to New York City, to Miami Fl. And let’s throw in Texas, California, and Michigan just to boot (not to mention the other 44).
But is it fair to say that one ethnic group is being singled out over another? Should black teenagers be stopped simply because they’re wearing hoodies? Should Muslim’s be pulled over just because they’re wearing a turban? And Hispanic’s be pulled over because of the color of their skin?
Just because more than 80% of illegal immigrants are Hispanic, and more than 50% of terrorism incidents are threatened and carried out by Muslims, is that any reason to stop them? And what about the teenagers who walk in the middle of the street and wear hoodies? 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. Here are some examples for you to consider of ways we profile someone or a group. And think of your first impression when you read these. Then think about other issues that may cause these actions;
• All of those damned ‘rent-a-cops’ who just want to make your job harder
• The man walking down the street, who may wobble or stumble
• The teenager who is wearing their pants on their butt and can’t walk right
• The brat in the grocery store throwing a tantrum?
• The employee with red rheumy eyes?
• The person who can’t seem to concentrate very well
• The security officer with food stains on their shirt
• The person who rants and raves against everything
• The young boy who profiles a gorgeous classmate – He’s harassing her
• The job applicant who doesn’t wear appropriate clothes– They don’t give a s***
• The ‘hard-assed’ security officer at the entrance – He’s just an a******
These are all examples of the way we profile people. There may be good reasons for any and all of these groups doing what they’re 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 daily life and see who you profile. If someone makes 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 security, 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. 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 violence prevention and other security issues. With numerous interviews, blogs, articles, and 2 books he has proven himself in the security arena for more than 31 years, and 23 studying workplace violence issues.
His latest book ‘one is too Many: Recognizing & Preventing Workplace violence is available for numerous e-book formats. It helps all organizations to reduce their risk and limit their liability of an incident. And it does this by breaking the rules in several ways, as well as following conventional wisdom in others.
He utilizes his years of field knowledge to give real life examples of incidents pulled from both his own experiences and the news headlines. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or Visit his Facebook page (One is too Many), Here you will see and read about other items related to WPV/SV as well as incidents you may not have heard or thought about.