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August 18, 2002

Racial Profiling Across Social Institutions Is Featured in Plenary Session

Chicago, IL – Racial profiling is widely associated with “DWB” (driving while black)—where minorities are pulled over for humiliating searches while driving. Police practices where race is used as a key factor in deciding whether to make a traffic stop, however, is not the only context where racial profiling occurs.

Three scholars, experts on social perception, discrimination, segregation, inequality, and race issues will address issues relating to racial profiling at a Plenary Session during the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association in Chicago, Illinois on Sunday, August 18, at 12:30 p.m. at the Chicago Hilton (International Ballroom North).

This plenary session will feature presentations that focus on “profiling” that we all engage in with and without our direct awareness. This session will be followed by five sessions at 2:30 p.m. focusing on racial profiling in employment, education, health, housing, and consumption markets, and the criminal justice system.

The following panel of experts will address these issues at the plenary session:

  • Mahzarin Banaji is the Richard Clarke Cabot Professor of Social Ethics in the Department of Psychology and Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor in the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies at Harvard University. She studies human thinking and feeling as it unfolds in social context. Her focus is primarily on systems that operate in implicit or unconscious mode, attending to how social perception and memory reveal new characteristics of attitudes and beliefs. In particular. She is interested in the unconscious nature of assessments of self and other humans that reflect feelings and knowledge (often unintended) about their social group membership (e.g., age, race/ethnicity, gender, class).

  • Lawrence D. Bobo is Norman Tishman and Charles M. Diker Professor of Sociology and of Afro-American Studies at Harvard University. He is co-author of Racial Attitudes in America: Trends and Interpretations (Harvard University Press, 1997); senior editor for Prismatic Metropolis: Inequality in Los Angeles (Russell Sage Foundation, 2000); and co-editor for Racialized Politics: The Debate on Racism in America (University of Chicago Press, 2000) and for Urban Inequality: Evidence from Four Cities (Russell Sage Foundation, 2001).

  • Troy Duster is currently Professor of Sociology at New York University, and Director of the American Cultures Center at the University of California at Berkeley, where he also has an appointment as Chancellor’s Professor. He is Chair of the Board of Directors of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, and is a member of the National Advisory Committee of the Decade of Behavior, and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science Committee on Germ-Line Intervention. He currently serves as the Chair of the ASA Task Force on an ASA Statement on Race. Duster is nationally known for his work on diversity in higher education, race relations, inequality, and the social and cultural basis of behavior.

The Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association is being held from August 16-19 at the Chicago Hilton and Hilton Palmer House Hotels in Chicago, IL. The purpose of the Annual Meeting is to meet the scholarly, teaching, training and practice needs of sociologists and social scientists at every career stage.

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About the American Sociological Association
The American Sociological Association (, founded in 1905, is a non-profit membership association dedicated to serving sociologists in their work, advancing sociology as a science and profession, and promoting the contributions to and use of sociology by society.