Utilitas

Research Article

Risse and Zeckhauser on Racial Profiling: A Reply

REGINALD WILLIAMSa1

a1 Bakersfield College rwilliam@bakersfieldcollege.edu

Abstract

This article criticizes Mathias Risse and Richard Zeckhauser's recent utilitarian defense of racial profiling. I use a novel thought-experiment to argue that even if a negative phenomenon could be reduced by profiling members of certain groups who happen to be disproportionately associated with it, the practice can be implausible. Specifically, I explore the possibility that in a given society, platinum blondes have a higher per capita incidence of a serious sexually transmitted disease, D. And I argue that doctors and health officials in the society would not be justified in profiling such blondes, given that there is nothing about being a platinum blonde that causes one to have D.