Racial profiling did not spring into existence until 1982 when President Reagan launched the War on Drugs. Mainstream media and culture in the USA has characterized people of color as menacing figures. Racial profiling has existed in various forms since the end of slavery. During the reconstruction of the South, laws called "Black Codes" were created. These "codes" made it punishable by imprisonment and indentured servitude for African Americans to loiter, be unemployed, be drunk, or be in debt. The "Black Codes" were a very blatant form of racial profiling aimed at maintaining an unpaid labor pool in the South in the early post-slavery days. .
Racial profiling is a practice of using racial or ethnic characteristics (i.e. skin color) to decide who is suspicious enough to warrant law enforcement attention. (Harris, 2003) Today, young men and women of color are targeted because the criminal justice system needs to keep a potentially volatile section of the working and oppressed classes under control. After the post-World War II economic boom, the ruling class cracked down on Labor and gutted social spending in order to maintain their profits. The harshest consequences of this program are experienced by low-wage workers and unemployed youth, predominantly Latinos and African American. Their poverty plainly contrasts with the exhibit of wealth and the myths of social mobility and opportunity in the USA. .
Therefore, from the ruling class's perspective, these groups must be constantly undermined, divided, intimidated, attacked, imprisoned, discredited, and ultimately kept in order with open force in the form of a lethal injection or a police bullet. Young people of color are thus made scapegoats for the problems created by the ruling class. Rape, gangs, drug addiction, teenage pregnancy, muggings, child abuse, unemployment-all these are ascribed to their personal moral flaws, which contributes to the social perception of criminality, which fuels the police tactic of profiling.