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by Jon Burras
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Profiling: A Natural Instinct
The Constitution of the United States grants us equal opportunities and equal protection
to each and every one of us. These indelible freedoms that were granted by our forefathers and our Constitution become our guiding
force throughout our culture. With these statutes in place we magically believe that what is written down on paper can be easily translated
and implemented into our working lives.
The joke is on us. For a document to be the end
all to our ever changing culture and our grey area of living is a mistake that we all have made. While many spout out that we are
all equal under the law the reality is that we are not all equal nor should we be treated equally. There are some who will receive
special privileges while others will receive more scrutiny. That is the reality. A two-hundred plus year old document should have
been more clear. Our mistake is that we magically believe that what is written down is true.
This all takes us to the act of profiling. "Profiling" occurs when a person or a group is singled out for special scrutiny, punishment
or ridicule. This behavior is officially illegal under the guise of the United States Constitution. Profiling says that we are not
all equal and some will not be awarded all the freedoms and rights of others. Profiling is the way for a government, corporation or
other group to place "risk assessment" on an individual. Risk assessment is creating categories of how safe or unsafe a person or
group might be based on a host of factors. While technically illegal and often times immoral, profiling is a normal occurrence in
our everyday lives as we attempt to implement risk assessment and create a safe environment for us all to live.
Profiling originates from our reptilian brain where we are always scanning our environment in search of safety or danger. This part
of our brain is an older part that is designed for primal reflexes. It is in this deep seated reptilian brain that we quickly respond
to situations and to our emotional and intuitive stimuli being presented to us. The reptilian brain is essentially a survival brain
that does not care much about rational thought or cultural rules. It is instinctual, primitive and designed to keep you alive.
In contrast, laws are written from our analytical mind (also called the cortex). This outer layer of our brain serves to process information,
to think and to coordinate. It is from the cortex that organized rules of society are written and that governing bodies and structure
originate from. It is through the cortex that we have rational rule of law and a somewhat civilized order to our society.
Profiling is embedded into our brains as a natural instinct. Years before we found ourselves in civilized cultures we were constantly
scanning our environment to ensure our safely. We would profile the animals around us to find out which were the safe animals and
which ones might attack us and be a threat to our survival. When hunting a hunter would profile a herd of animals to find the weakest
one to attack. In our early tribal existence we were always assessing the other tribal members and profiling them. Who might be a
threat to you, to take over as leader or to steal something from you?
We are now in direct
conflict with two different parts of our brains. Our primitive brain is still very much alive in us and says that we need to be on
guard and search out those who are more at risk to us while our rational brain is telling us that we are all equal and that no one
should be more scrutinized than anyone else. Here is the quintessential dilemma. How do we resolve this issue of profiling that essentially
is a conflict with two different parts of our brains?
Since the 9-11 attacks Muslims have
come under more scrutiny and profiling than most other groups. It was a radicalized Muslim group that participated in the attacks.
Many other world attacks have since taken place by radicalized Muslims in the last fourteen years to warrant the world to heavily
scrutinize all Muslims. Profiling is now in place. Whether you call it profiling or "risk assessment" it does not matter. Nor does
it matter whether you are talking about refugees trying to enter into a new country or Muslims who have lived in an area for quite
some time. Due to the actions of a few an entire religion now is being profiled.
Europe and North America in particular are battling between their two dominant brains. Do we continue to scrutinize and profile all
Muslims as the reptilian brain insists to ensure safety or do we trust people and treat everyone equally and fairly as our rational
brain wishes us to do? Here is the conflict, a battle between our own ears.
not fair with some people being treated better than others. With profiling some are not fairly trusted or given the same benefits.
The reptilian brain does not care about fairness. It cares about security and being safe. If you are being profiled know that you
are being assessed for risk based on someone's primal reflexes and not their rational thinking process. Fairness does not exist with
profiling. Fairness might exist on a paper document but never in the real world. Natural instincts will always try to counteract rational
rules and artificial constraints. "Equality" is an artificial entity and only exists in a fabricated mind. Every pack of animals does
not have equal membership for all. There is usually a dominate (or alpha), many followers and often a runt of the pack. As we have
seen from nature, equality and fairness do not exist when we talk about our instincts.
Even insects have a tribal mentality and often profile. An ant colony will have many different categories of ants. An ant colony usually
has three castes of members—queens, males and workers. The workers understand their roles and have been profiled to be at the bottom
of the caste system. They do not attempt to become a male or a queen. They are content in their place with less privilege and respect
than the others.
Profiling is built into our reptilian brains and is as natural as sleeping,
eat, defecating and having sex. When we are profiling we are gauging around us to determine how safe our environment is. We then make
judgments and classifications based on what we observe. What most people do not realize is that profiling goes on every day in many
aspects of our lives.
When you enter an airport you are profiled. A Muslim man purchasing
a one way airline ticket in cash might not be allowed to board the plane. In fact, the federal government has profiled its citizens
and has created a data base of people who are determined to be too risky to be allowed to fly. This federal profiling system is called
the "do not fly list."
A taxi driver or Uber driver will profile his passengers before
starting his ride. He will at times deny a person a ride if he does not feel like it will be a safe experience. Liquor store clerks
will profile their customers as they walk in. A teenager with his pants hanging near his knees will most certainly receive more scrutiny
than a senior citizen pushing her walker.
Profiling occurs in all walks of life from the
mall security guard watching over potential shoplifters to the border patrol agent choosing which cars to stop and which ones to let
go without being searched. Police departments profile for those most likely to commit a crime and even certain neighborhoods have
been profiled as the most likely place a crime will take place.
A white person driving
in a black neighborhood will be profiled by the residents. He is either here to buy drugs, sell drugs or is an under cover police
officer. Restaurant owners will profile their patrons. A group of youths dining alone without parents are more than likely to be seated
away from the door. This action is because if they "dine and dash" they will have a much more difficult time doing so. A senior citizen
couple would not be scrutinized in this manner. With cameras everywhere these days the average citizen walking down the street or
driving down the highway is being profiled as to their potential risks.
companies have profiled you and have given you a number that determines your credit risk. You may not like this number or agree with
it but it is the number that has been assigned to you in order to borrow money or to purchase a large item like a car or home. While
this is often unfair it is the system that we have all agreed to.
Universities and colleges
will profile their admissions applicants as to whom they allow into their college. If you are an Asian you are profiled as being a
good student and more than likely to be admitted based on academic performance. If you are profiled as being a member of a "minority"
group like a Latino or black you may be accepted based on your skin color and the need of the university to make sure that it has
a "diverse" and color-coded campus.
A single man sitting alone in a park or attending an
amusement park without a spouse or family will be profiled. He might have anxious mothers who report him to the police as they watch
over their young children like a mother bear protecting its young. He is being profiled as a potential child molester without any
evidence except that he is alone in the park and is of the male gender. A single man working in early childhood education is most
certainly profiled. Some would ask, "Why would a man want to work with children?"
are profiled based on many factors. The stereotype persists that blacks are better athletes so a black might always be picked before
other races based on skin color. African Americans have historically been profiled to be stopped by police officers while driving
more than any other race. Society has coined the term "driving while black" to define this issue. You can be profiled for many different
reasons including skin color, religion, geography, neighborhood, political views, income or just the fact that you are single.
The difference between a human being and an animal is that the animals in a wolf pack do not expect to be equal and they know their
position in their tribal existence. The runt of the pack is not trying to be the alpha and everyone understands where they belong.
There is no expectation of fairness but a natural acceptance of inequality. Unfortunately the framers of the Constitution did not
understand how the brain actually works or how our natural instincts will always supersede any paper document or law.
While profiling might not be fair and at times can be immoral, it is a very normal and natural part of our tribal existence. Buried
deep beneath our fancy clothes and Ivy League degrees lies a very primitive existence that still runs us. We will come into harmony
with this idea when we accept one very simple premise. That premise is that life is not fair and we are not all going to be treated
equally. Trying to legislate against profiling is like trying to ban farting by adding a new amendment to the Constitution. This strategy
will most certainly fail as natural instincts will always surpass man-made paper documents.