The incident in the USA where an eminent Black Professor was hand cuffed and questioned by the Police for breaking into his own house raises a very serious issue.
In this case the Professor was with another Black friend trying to unjam his front door. A passer by noticed 'two black men breaking into a house'. What ensued is anyones guess, as there are two sides to every story.
But the basis of the incident is that two black men were seen at a house and the member of the public and the police assumed that they were breaking in to the house.
Racial profiling at it's most basic really.
Profiling based on race and ethnographic characteristics is very common, in the 1970's the Chief Investigator of the Watergate incident immediately felt that the break in was more than a simple burglary because the majority of crime was believed to be conducted by black men.
Profiling is pretty powerful stuff in crime, but and this a huge but the racial profiling here is more based on stereotypes and not profiling.
We live under the shadow of stereotypes all the time if we are gay or lesbian, and stereotypes are used to incite, violence, quash equality and perpetuate the stereotypes themselves.
The recent furore over the movie Bruno is particularly perplexing one, does the crude humor encourage stereotypes, or not?
I personally don't think so, but other disagree and disagree vehemently.
Food for thought!