Innumerable discussions, arguments, and even a few knock down drag outs have happened because the generalized thought is that we profile certain ethnic and religious groups. I want to tell you one thing and settle this once and for all; well I can hope can’t I? We do profile people.
But it’s not just Hispanics, black kids with hoody’s, and people with darker skin from the Middle East.
But is this fair to generalize an entire group of people simply based on the color of their skin, religion, sexual orientation, or whatever? Whether we believe we do or not, we do. We profile people every second, minute, & single day of the year. Here are some examples of how we do;
- Those damned rent-a-cops who just want to make your job harder to do and restrict your movements
- The man wobbly walking down the street, he’s drunk
- The teenager who is wearing their pants on their butt and can’t walk right –gang banger
- What about the person who cuts you off in traffic? They are such an idiot
- The tantrum throwing brat in the grocery store? The parents don’t know how to discipline such brats
- What about the employee with red rheumy eyes? They are an alcoholic
- The person who can’t seem to concentrate very well, talk about space cadet on drugs
- The security officer with food on their shirt, they are slovenly and don’t care
- The person who rants and raves against everything, they must be mentally unhinged
- The young boy who profiles a gorgeous classmate, he is such a sexist
- The elderly couple in the mall who look warily at a group of youths wearing hoodies, they are fools and too old to matter
- The job applicant who doesn’t wear appropriate clothes to the interview, they should know better
- The security officer at the entrance of a building, he’s a hard ass****
- The person who never smiles or goes out with co-workers, they are a jerk
These are just a few of the ways that we profile people on a daily basis, sometimes on an hourly one. In most of these cases they are probably good reasons why they are doing what they are, or not, doing. After we profile them, then that profile sticks in our mind, possibly forever.
Who have you profiled today alone and be honest? Do you remember the old cliché making a good first impression? Well, that is the basis for profiling someone. If they make a bad impression then we profile them. Maybe not intentionally, but…
Every single day we make hundreds, possibly thousands, of profiles of people we see. Some of them may be valid and others may not. Some of our profiling will target bad people and unfortunately other profiling will render judgment on good people that may not be fair, like the people above.
Here are some possible explanations of them;
- Any thought that they are trying to keep you and everyone safe from harm?
- Is it possible he is having a medical issue, stroke, epileptic seizure, diabetic shock, or similar
- No possibility he is just trying to fit in with his friends, albeit badly
- Could they possibly be late or just didn’t see you in the mirror?
- The child couldn’t possibly be sick and the single parent trying to get some medicine
- There can’t be any medical condition that causes this is there?
- The same goes for them. No way have they had a recent stroke or another neurological issue
- Did it ever occur that someone threw something on them or upset their meal plate?
- Maybe they are just passionate, or angry, about the issues they rant about
- Which of us guys haven’t said something about a gorgeous woman, privately or not, even at an advanced age?
- They watch the news and see how many thugs have their hoodies covering their faces when they do harm
- If they are poor they may be doing their best to look presentable even in t-shirt and jeans
- Is he truly a heartless ass or just following the rules & regulations?
- Any thought to them being shy, no money, or something else?
In the security field, it’s not necessarily the right thing to do to profile someone, yet we instruct our officers and managers to profile employees, vendors, & visitors one way or another. But taking a different perspective on this, do we have to profile others in order to protect the company, client, employees, visitors, and even the country?
Unequivocally, YES. Because if we don’t then we’re not doing our job. Do we need, as security professionals, to temper this with common sense and training so we don’t accuse someone recklessly of theft, terrorism, or other hooliganish behavior? YES we do.
Take a look at the items above and see where we can profile inadvertently. Then look at the fact that we may be mistaken and we need to take a second look and dismiss any threat. All I ask is that next time you begin to accuse someone of profiling, look back and see who YOU have profiled in the past hour or day yourself, and why.
Robert D. Sollars assists businesses and their employees to lessen their risk of WPV as well as other security/customer service related issues. You can follow him on his Facebook page, facebook.com/oneistooomany, or twitter@robertsollars2.
I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear