Racial Profiling in Enhancement of National Security in the USA


This assignment is a discussion on the topic of social injustice. The discussion pays close attention to a major social injustice that I need to see addressed in the United States. The discussion will entail the identification of the injustice and its nature, the significance of race, ethnicity, class, and gender regarding opportunities and outcomes for certain segments of the society as it relates to the social injustice, a discussion of how disparate policies or practices related to this social injustice affect individual outcomes, the sociological, psychological and legal costs of this injustice to society, the family and individual and solutions for resolving the social injustice. The social injustice to be discussed is the violation of civil liberties under the guise of enhancement of national security.

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What is social justice?

The concept of social justice was coined by Luigi Taparelli, under the inspiration of the works of the renowned philosopher Thomas Aquinas in the year 1840. According to Luigi Taparelli, as quoted in the buzzle.com website, the concept of social justice implies ‘a society where everybody gets justice by being treated equally without any form of discrimination. A just society therefore can be said to be one in which religion, gender, social class, race, and cultural backboards are not criteria for accessing basic human rights (Buzzle, 2011).

Human rights are classified into various categories or classes. Although there are the universal human rights contained in the universal declaration on human rights of 1948, each country or state has got its classifications of rights, which are provided for either in a constitution, statute, bill of rights, or charters. The United States of America is presumed to be having the most comprehensive bill of rights for human rights protection.

Many countries have their bill of rights entrenched in their constitutions. The nature of rights for a country in most cases reflects the countries’ former colony. Australia for example does not have issues of rights in its constitution, but rather they are provided for in the common law. However, the country has been in the process of establishing some bills of rights at its national government level.

Some regions of Australia like the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and Victoria have managed to come up with a bill of rights of some kind dubbed the ‘Human Rights Act (2004) and the (Charter of Rights & Responsibilities 2006) respectively’. These charters are one of the options, while the other option is to entrench a bill of rights in the constitution.

Social justice also entails the equal distribution of wealth and resources to ensure that everyone’s basic and economic needs are met without any forms of disparities or discrimination. A socially just society or country guarantees its members social, physical, and psychological safety; a place where every person lives his or her life to its fullest.

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Social injustice is the opposite of social justice and it implies a society in which discrimination in the distribution of resources is rampant and also a society in which citizens are not treated fairly or equally before the law or in the access to basic human rights.

Violation of civil liberties in the United States

This injustice is mostly intertwined with other forms of social injustices like prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination based on race. The injustice in question is not a new phenomenon in the United States but it came into the limelight especially after the September 11 attacks. The reason why I have chosen this issue is that many people are suffering innocently just because of belonging to a certain racial, cultural, or religious background.

What I’m talking about here is that the people of the Muslim background in the United States are categorized under blanket condemnation as potential terrorists. This is very wrong because any citizen of the United States has the right to enjoy life without any form of discrimination. The citizens of the Muslim background are treated with suspicion everywhere and every time. This is an injustice of the highest order which I would like to see the government address during my lifetime.

Civil rights are rights that protect certain freedoms for individuals from infringement by private organizations and governments. Such freedoms include freedom of speech, fair and speedy trial, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, and freedom of association. The protection of civil rights entails the enjoyment of such rights and freedoms by citizens of a country without repression or discrimination from any quarters (Cooray, 1995).

National security entails the government’s mandate to protect its citizens from any threat to peace, either internal or external. Any government is therefore supposed to do whatever it deems necessary to protect its citizens from any threat to their peace. Civil liberties are entitlements of citizens of a country. They are rights and freedoms that citizens are provided for by constitutional documents. They include freedoms of speech, religion, movement, right to privacy, and right to own property among other rights and freedoms as may be provided for in a constitution or international treaty provisions. In the United States, the two issues of national security and civil liberties have however been controversial in that the government is supposed to protect the citizens from terrorists as well as respect their civil liberties (Robert, 2004).

With the advent of terrorism, and especially after the September 11 terrorist attacks, the US government has been faced with the challenge of balancing the two issues, the big question being how far the citizens may go in compromising some of their civil liberties to be protected.

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When the citizens are left to exercise their civil liberties, in some cases they may abuse them by committing terrorist acts while when the government interferes with the civil liberties of the citizens to protect them, it may end up violating some people’s rights. This is how the issue is controversial. All better said than done, the fact remains that the protection of civil liberties is a primary role of the government (Robert, 2004).

The argument that citizens should compromise or sacrifice some of their civil liberties has got both positive and negative effects. The positive effect is that the government can have the convenience of operating without any legal or technical challenges in protecting the citizens. It can do what it deems necessary to combat any terrorist acts or threats to peace. For example, the former US president Georg W. Bush 2001 signed the USA Patriotic Act to become law (Michael, 2002). The Act required Americans to make some sacrifices regarding some of their civil liberties like the right to privacy through internet communication. This was done to help the FBI trace and identify any premeditated terrorist attacks and take the necessary measures, all in the name of protecting the citizens (Michael, 2002).

The negative effect is that this encroachment of the government into people’s lives and freedoms is subject to abuse by the government. For instance, some Muslim citizens in America were subjected to unnecessary frisking, interrogation, and screening by the government in its “war against terrorism” which amounts to racial discrimination. There is also the issue of the Guantanamo prison in which those suspected to be terrorists are locked up before trial.

The problem is that the American government has violated the rights of the suspects in that they are locked in the cells for a very long time without trial, which is against the bill of rights in the American constitution and even against the Geneva Convention talks on human rights. The interception of mails and emails by the FBI and the eavesdropping on people’s conversations especially lawyers and their clients is not only unethical but also amounts to a violation of civil liberties (Robert, 2004).

The violation of civil liberties has a wide range of social, legal, and psychological costs both to the society, family, and individuals. Society becomes polarized due to a lack of social cohesion. This lack of social cohesion leads to hatred between the people of Muslim origin and the other citizens which leads to further divisions instead of embracing a unity of purpose. Families and individuals end up being traumatized and thus not enjoying their life to their fullest.

The solution to the violation of civil liberties

The solution to the problem of violation of civil liberties under the guise of enhancement of national security is to de-link the issues of national security and civil liberties. What I mean is that the Federal and state governments should come up with policies of enhancing national security without compromising the civil liberties of the citizens. The government should sensitize all citizens to stand firm against terrorists because they are enemies of all people, Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

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Buzzle. (2011). Social Injustice. Web.

Cooray, M. (1995). Common Law and Statute. Web.

Michael, T.(2002). Recent Developments: USA Patriotic Act. Web.

Robert N.(2004). Striking the Balance: National Security vs. Civil Liberties. Web.

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