There are two terms that occur with some regularity in the media today. They are "profiling" and "racism." Some news bunnies appear to equate the two as though they are synonyms. They are not.
We are all forced to profile as a matter of survival when faced with a situation that demands an immediate decision that must be based upon little or no background information. In such cases, our brains make instantaneous, experience-based and news-based statistical calculations designed to preserve our interests and often our very lives.
In contrast, racism is the result of a corrosive, crippling process that has likely evolved over a number of years and unfortunate encounters.
If you enter a public conveyance in a large, unfamiliar metropolis and observe three hooded young black men sitting in one section and three well-dressed young white men in another, which area will you choose? If you opt to sit by the white men, are you a racist?
The difference between profiling and racism is best illustrated by a statement on TV that the Rev. Jesse Jackson made about the thing that he hates most. It is not the sound of approaching footsteps as he walks alone on a partially lit sidewalk in a big city. It is not the fear of a mugging or worse. It is the relief that he feels when as the footsteps draw nearer, he realizes that it is a white person. Is he a racist? Not likely. Does he profile? Absolutely.