Racial Profiling: Everyday Inequality
Alison Marie Behnke
Twenty-First Century Books
Published January 1, 2017
Media and political activists have worked hard to bring attention to the issue of racial profiling in America. Profiling occurs when details about someone’s racial identity are used as reason to treat them differently. Sometimes this happens when police assume a person of a particular race must be guilty of a crime before any investigation takes place. The real statistics about how many people experience racial profiling can be staggering. In this book, Behnke carefully defines racial profiling and explains what it is and areas of the community where profiling can occur. Though it can be a charged political topic, Behnke’s clear, straightforward narrative presents a calm and thorough investigation supported by statistics and further illustrated by stories shared by victims and their families, making it a great resource for students and teachers interested in educating themselves about this topic.
One of the things I really liked about this book is how easy the author has made it to find additional information. The chapters are peppered with case studies and historical facts as well as full-color illustrations supporting the narrative. Extensive source notes as well as suggestions for further study in books, documentaries, and websites make this a high-powered, informative, resource.
I feel like this is a tough topic to talk about because it’s one I think we all wish were not a reality and certainly not one nearly so pervasive and devastating as it seems to be. It has been interesting as a parent watching my daughter discover some of these things about the world and wrestle with the frustration we feel when we find the world to be different than we believe it should be.
I think it’s also an important issue to be educated about. I’ve flagged some of the resources Behnke used and some of the recommended texts as well so that I can continue to learn more. I found this to be an accessible, easy-to-understand book, so if you’re looking for a place to begin, this could be it.
The book focuses mainly on issues faced by people of color, including African Americans, immigrants (particularly from Mexico and Latin America), and Muslims.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
The book briefly talks about prejudice faced by Muslims or those mistaken for Muslim.