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40 Am. Crim. L. Rev. 1195 (2003)
Defining Racial Profiling in a Post-September 11 World

handle is hein.journals/amcrimlr40 and id is 1205 raw text is: DEFINING RACIAL PROFILING IN A
Deborah A. Ramirez*
Jennifer Hoopes**
Tara Lai Quinlan***
In the immediate aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the
World Trade Center and the Pentagon, there was an apparent shift in the debate
about racial profiling. After years of condemning the practice of racial profiling as
one that violated civil rights, commentators began to accept and even advocate the
practice as a necessary tactic to fight terrorism.' Public opinion polls reflected a
sudden approval of racial profiling as a sacrifice of civil liberties in order to
achieve greater security. Arab-Americans, and those with Arab appearances,
increasingly were singled out for questioning and security checks based on their
skin color, clothing, name, or religious beliefs.2
Despite this change in support for racial profiling, the practice is no more
appropriate after September 11 than it was during the War on Drugs. Using race to
* Professor, Northeastern University School of Law; B.S., Northwestern University; J.D., Harvard. Professor
Ramirez is the co-director of Institute on Race and Justice at Northeastern University and she has worked with the
Department of Justice on racial profiling issues.
** J.D., Northeastern University School of Law, 2002.
SB.A., University of California, Berkeley; J.D. expected, Northeastern University School of Law, 2004.
The authors are grateful to Cathryn Harris, Lindsay Johnston, Ellen B. Sullivan, and Sophie Migliazzo for their
diligent, thoughtful, and enthusiastic research assistance. Professor Ramirez would also like to thank the Harvard
Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review for inviting her to participate in their November 2001 conference
entitled Racial Profiling in the New Millennium. This Article stemmed from that debate and discussions that
followed. This Article comes out of the Institute on Race and Justice at Northeastern University, which provided
both financial support and enthusiastic encouragement for this research endeavor. We are indebted to Professor
Jack McDevitt, Dr. Amy Farrell, and Jana Rumminger, whose advice and editorial assistance made this Article
possible. Finally, we appreciate the editorial and substantive comments of Judge Ralph Gants. His insights and
ideas substantially contributed to the development of this Article.
1. Morning Edition: Use of Profiling to Discover Would Be Terrorists (NPR radio broadcast, Feb. 12, 2002),
available at LEXIS (transcripts). Professor Jonathan Turley of George Washington University stated,
There are 40 million people that travel by air in this country. We cannot stop each one of them and
make an individualized determination of risk. We have to develop some type of profile. The fact is
profiling is a legitimate statistical device. And it's a device that we may have to use if we're going
to have a meaningful security process at these airports.
Id. at 2.
2. See, e.g., Stephanie Stoughton, Fliers See Bias as Pilots Move to Bump Them: Fighting Terror Security v.
Discrimination, BOSTON GLOBE, Nov. 11, 2001, at Al (describing incidents of flight crews removing airline
passengers of Arab decent)


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