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Racial profiling is the practice of subjecting citizens to increased surveillance or scrutiny based on racial or ethic factors rather than "reasonable suspicion." The current debate (Satzewich and Shaffir 2009; Henry and Tator 2011) focuses on whether intention matters in considering racial-profiling practices. Satzewich and Shaffir (2009) argue that the intentions of policing agents are an important consideration for understanding racial profiling. In their rejoinder, Henry and Tator (2011) invoke the principle that "racism/racial profiling is to be judged primarily by its consequences in creating inequality for certain groups" (66); they cite case law that recognizes that the motivation or intention of the perpetrator is irrelevant to the judgement that racial discrimination has occurred.
It is clear that, given the power and discretion available to police, the experience of being subject to racial profiling can lead both to a feeling of being harassed and to a sense of alienation from the legal system and the wider society (Glover 2008). For victims of racial profiling, the intention of the policing agent is not an issue; the sense of injustice and insecurity is what stays with them. Over a long period of time, negative experience such as racial profiling can lead to specific ethnic groups' losing confidence in the police (cf., Bradford, Jackson, and Stanko 2009).