Racial Profiling in the Literature: A Comprehensive Review

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 17:00
Oral Presentation
Sergio ADORNO, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil
Letícia SIMÕES GOMES, University of São Paulo, Brazil
This article aims to present a comparative discussion regarding racial profiling in international as well as in Brazilian literature. The bibliographic review consisted in the scrutiny of the core international and Brazilian databases, with the entries of “racial profiling”, “racial bias” and police “violence + racism”. Firstly, we present the main perspectives that dictate the international debate over racial profiling; then, we discuss how these perspectives permeate Brazilian literature. We also analyze Brazilian specificities of racial profiling, as well as how the racial problem interacts with public security politics. Underlying the debate over racial profiling there is the concept of institutional racism as an expression of structural racism through the police, which origins mechanisms that reproduce and contribute to perpetuate racial inequalities. The Brazilian case, when compared to the international literature (which is mainly from the United States), presents us peculiarities inherited from Brazilian’s racial composition and its interaction with public security forces - promoters of an authoritarian and less transparent order - which generates consequences for measuring and formulating of theoretical-methodological perspectives. In Brazil, the chief way of indicating racial profiling in police activity is through the analysis of police lethality and arrest in flagrante delicto; meanwhile, in other countries, the object is ultimately related to traffic stops and stop and search. Racial profiling, as an expression of institutional racism, relies on the social-historical frame of racial relations in a given society. Thus, we emphasize that in the Brazilian case the formation of its State and its security forces - decentralized and founded in authoritarianism and the criminalization of poverty - joined by the (non)integration of the black population to Brazilian society and citizenship (by the margins of the class structure and with reduced social mobility) generated a deadlier racial profiling, when compared to the U.S.’.