Treating People as Equals : Ethical Objections to Racial Profiling and the Composition of Juries
The Journal of Ethics
61 - 78 p.
Equality, Inequality, Jury composition, Racial profiling
This paper shows that the problem of treating people as equals in a world marked by deep-seated and, often, recalcitrant inequalities has implications for the way we approach the provision of security and justice. On the one hand, it means that racial profiling will generally be unjustified even when it might promote collective interests in security, on the other, it means that we should strive to create racially mixed juries, even in cases where defendant and alleged-victim are of the same race. The paper examines a recent report on race and jury trials in the United Kingdom and concludes that, despite the author’s claims that all-white juries are fair, the data shows the complex ways in which racial differences are translated into unjustified and arbitrary inequalities. Hence, it concludes, racially mixed juries are desirable, and sometimes necessary for justice, though probably not sufficient.