Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The "Evil" That Is Profiling

Profiling seems to be viewed as one of the most egregious forms of discrimination these days. I have even heard of credit card companies lowering credit limits on certain customers who shop at certain retailers.

What is the purpose of profiling? Is it for the sake of discriminating maliciously? Blindly following the claims of any number of activist organizations, one could naively be led to believe this to be the case. But generally it is done to save money and time on research in order to make viable decisions regarding each person or situation.

When I turned 16 and got my driver's license, my insurance was twice what it was for my sister! It was so unfair and discriminatory. I was outraged! I was just as responsible and just as good a driver as my sister when she got her license. How dare they have the audacity to charge me double! But this is where profiling is the only viable, perhaps even obligatory strategy in dealing with matters such as these. I knew I was responsible and hopefully my parents and closest friends would have agreed just the same but how would an impersonal insurance behemoth have known this? This is why profiling is necessary.

Unless they performed an in-depth interview and perhaps even attempted to really get to “know” Kurt by assigning a truant officer to observe me for a year, what could they possibly have known about me? Little or nothing! They employ actuaries who pore over statistical trends which point to tendencies certain types of people or situations will more likely than not follow. State Farm did not know me. All they knew was that I was a 16 year-old Caucasian male. From that, they generalized that I would be like other 16 year-old Caucasian males they insured. We could say from their limited research, they concluded I would be approximately twice as likely as my sister to file a claim!

Profiling against people of certain sexes, races, religions, etc. is oftentimes a necessary evil. Even if one argues that certain types of profiling are above and beyond what is necessary, this is arbitrary. In any case, how do we determine the types of profiling that are acceptable or not? Life is unfair. Get over it!

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