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Discrimination and Disrespect$
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Benjamin Eidelson

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198732877

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198732877.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use.date: 27 May 2022

A Case Study

A Case Study

Racial Profiling

(p.173) 6 A Case Study
Discrimination and Disrespect

Benjamin Eidelson

Oxford University Press

The disrespect-based theory developed earlier in the book aspires to explain what is characteristically and intrinsically wrong about core cases of wrongful discrimination. This chapter considers at length one example of the kind of discrimination that is not necessarily ruled out by the moral demands of respect for persons: racial profiling in law enforcement. The chapter argues that this practice, and others like it, may be troubling on grounds that are fundamentally contingent and hence very different in character. What makes racial profiling morally wrong may not be that it is distinctly unfair, or that it is necessarily racist, but rather that it contributes to a set of conventional social understandings that do unjustified harm. The chapter develops this argument by clarifying the general conceptual distinction between “profiling” and the use of “suspect descriptions,” and proceeds to consider the merits of several different arguments often advanced against profiling.

Keywords:   racial profiling, discrimination, suspect descriptions, policing, blood donation, fairness

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