Terrorism Race and the Criminal Justice in America

Subject: Warfare
Pages: 5
Words: 1411
Reading time:
6 min
Study level: Undergraduate

Dealing with terrorism in the current time has generated a number of legal, social and moral issues that needs to be addressed if the fight against terrorism is to prove above reproach. Legal experts have in the resent past debated on the need to settle the issue of race and terrorism and how the relationship affects the justice system in the United States of America. Some experts argue that there is no problem if racially profiling terrorism suspect or identifying or requiring suspect to be identified by their racial background. Some races have felt criminalized and have complained that they are subjected to racial discrimination when it come to counter terrorism activities in United States of America. Moreover, they claim that they have been unfairly criminalized by the nature of their skin color and as such have demanded that the American justice system to react to this and ensure legal as well as ethical protection by the America constitution. However counter terrorism legal experts have argued that simply subjecting pole to searches on suspicion of terrorism based on race does not amount to denial of the basic rights guaranteed to all American citizens. While complainants have argued that this is denial of basic personal liberties by the American authorities, legal experts assert that stopping and subjecting people of certain races to searches does not amount to violation of the fourth amendment of the American constitution. Sociologists have termed this as racial intolerance. However the main question is does the race and terrorism relations influence the American justice system?

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The relationship between race and terrorism has been rising in the last one decade such that it has attracted the attention of legal experts from America. The American government in its pledge to protect all American from any form of discrimination has instigated the Terrorism Act (2006) that sought to criminalize religious and racial based hatred (Welsh, Greenwood, Banks, Cyril and McNae 357). Questions abound then on the definition of race. Some people feel that Hispanics in America were minorities in America and not a race while others have felt otherwise. Others felt the same towards middles easterners or even Arabs. Member citizens from the Middle East or others who identified themselves as Arabic felt that by being subjected to unwarranted searches in suspicion of terrorism amounts to being treated as terrorists. Actually they feel that they have been treated as members of the infamous terrorist group Al Qaeda. (Harris 423). The Forth Amendment however does respond to this matter and assert that “every American has the right … to be secure in their … houses against unreasonable searches and seizures, (and that this right) shall not be violated” (Thomas 547). This legal requirement protects every American citizen regardless of race against any unwarranted search and detention on suspicion of terrorism. Questions abound however on the definition the term unreasonable. Most of the victims in this case have complained that the definition of the term unreasonable is too relative and that arresting officer uses the Forth Amendment to justify treating any reason to apprehend terrorism suspects especially from the Middle East. Critics of this theory confuse the term unreasonable to mean unconstitutional or illegal (Thomas 549).

The American Supreme Court has sought to demystify the myth surrounding the definition of these terms and states that the fourth amendment provides that “there has to be reasonableness in all the circumstances of the particular governmental invasion of a citizen’s personal security” (Harris 412). Critics of this they argue that it amounts to legalizing unreasonable searches of especially people of Arab and Middle East decent on suspicion of being terrorists or connection to terrorist’s networks. Furthermore this puts the issues of public interests as well as personal liberties against legal interest. Moreover critics argue that the American justice system is glorifying terrorism by making the anti hill that’s terrorism threat look like a gigantic mountain. Such misconception of matters critic argue is threatening to destroy the American cultural fabric of togetherness as some members of the public are adopting to the same attitude of racial profiling when the subject of terrorism is under debate.

Race and terrorism relationships discourse however highlight that the American law especially the Fourth Amendment is too weak to address the issue of racial profiling. This assertion is gaining legal backing especially after the 9/11 incident in which terrorist used American resources to cause untold terrorists havoc in America. If surveillance is increased on all suspected terrorists especially from the Arab decent then it is possible to counter terrorist’s activities to a great deal (Maclin 471). This is true especially when analyzing the events leading to 9/11. The law should have been amended to empower airport security officials to increase surveillance, interrogation and search of all people who are suspected o to be connected to terrorists especially the Arabs. This should be done with reasonable motive of avoiding the occurrence of exposure of any American to harm. Supporters of this theory argue that reasonable searches on all Arabs should be legally made into a routine administrative work by security officials especially those dealing with counter terrorism measures. Furthermore the proponents argue that the Fourth Amendment should allow counter terrorism officer enough reason to conduct surveillance which includes singling out particular people regardless of their racial orientations for searches.

Still drawing from the 9/11 incident proponents argue it is legally necessary to subject any person preferably men especially if they are from the middle east, are looking suspicious and is attempting to enter into any public place such as a sports stadia, a mall, or even boarding a public transport vehicle or plane to impromptu searches which will includes frisking for weapons or harmful objects. The American Supreme Court has argued that there is a probable cause and reason to warrant such people to stop for searching despite the assertion by critics that this legal requirement amounts to criminalizing all men who fit into that description and as such a gross violations of basic human rights especially personal liberties. A hypothesis has been generated in support of legalizing Racal profiling of terrorisms suspects. Criminologists have hypothesized that if surveillance would have been increased prior to and especially near the fateful September 11, 2001, two things are likely to have happened. If all the Arabs would have be subjected to reasonable searches then it possible most or all the terrorist who accomplished the heinous acts would have been arrested. Otherwise increased surveillance would have alerted the terrorist and made them flee with the possibility of regrouping and repotting their attacks. This hypothesis proves sufficient argumentative background to support the American justice system’s efforts to construct terrorist profiles on racial backgrounds (Cloud 73). These amounts legalizing the superiority of some races that are not associated with terrorism such as the whites and others from non Arabic decent (Borgeson and Valeri 9)

To ascertain the need to racially profile terrorist suspects, section of the American justice system has used statistics to show that the treat of terrorism comes from the Arab world. In the recent past studies conducted by the US government show that there has been an increased in the number of illegal immigrants into the US in the last fifteen years. A significant number of these immigrants come from Asia a predominantly Arab continent. It is not by coincidence that the threat of terrorism has been increasing what the increase with the illegal immigrants. As such the conclusion is that these immigrants warrant closer supervision in case they pose threat to American of good will. The table below show statistics if illegal immigrant into the USA fro the last fifteen yeas leading to the year 2004

CRS Summary of Research and Pew Report
Source: CRS Summary of Research and Pew Report

It is now proving that there is emerging a peculiar relationship between race and terrorism when dealing with the issue of terrorism. Whenever the term terrorism is mentioned race especially when referring to Arabs and people of Middle East decent easily come to mind. This means that Arabs are taken to be more predisposed to commit terrorist activities. Such relationship has been backed by sufficient evidence especially the terrorist attack in New York World Trade Centre in 2001. The result is that it ha now become necessary to profile terrorist and terrorism suspect on racial backgrounds. Such profiling has brought forth sharp reactions. Debate however should continue as innocent Arabs are treated as terrorists, a clear violation of personal liberty

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Borgeson, Kevin and Valeri, Robin. Terrorism in America. Ontario: Jones and Barrlet Publishers. 2009. Print

Cloud, Morgan. Quakers, Slaves and the Founders: Profiling to Save the Union. Mississippi Law Journal. 2003. Print

CRS Summary of Research and Pew Report. “Increase in Illegal Immigrant Population (1986-2004).” 2005. Web.

Harris, David. Using Race or Ethnicity as a Factor in Assessing the Reasonableness of Fourth Amendment Activity: Description, Yes; Prediction, No. Mississippi Law Journal. 2003. Print

Maclin, Tracey. “Voluntary” Interviews and Airport Searches of Middle Eastern Men: The Fourth Amendment in a Time of Terror. Mississippi Law Journal. 2003. Print

Thomas, Davies. Recovering the Original Fourth Amendment. Law Journal.1999. Print

Welsh, Tom; Greenwood, Walter; Banks, David; Cyril, Leonard and McNae, James. Mcnae’s Essential Law for Journalists. New York: Oxford University Press. 2007

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