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Racial Profiling. “Hounding the Innocent”. Bob Herbert. This picture is obviously a joke … but is there any truth to its message? Does racial profiling begin early? Could it become a self-fulfilling prophecy? Something to think about as we work through this unit. Standards.

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This picture is obviously a joke … but is there any truth to its message?

Does racial profiling begin early? Could it become a self-fulfilling prophecy? Something to think about as we work through this unit.


Students will be able to…

describe key concepts in sensory terms

compare key concepts to other known concepts

associate key concepts with other experiences

analyze how key concepts are made or created

apply key concepts to the world and society

make an argument for or against key concepts

define new key concepts with newly introduced key vocabulary.

confirm or deny their predictions

identify if they have been persuaded by the text and the reasons why or why not


  • Reading:
    • 1.0 Students apply their knowledge of word origins to determine the meaning of new words encountered in reading materials and use those words accurately.
    • 1.1 Trace the etymology of significant terms used in political science and history.
    • 1.2 Apply knowledge of Greek, Latin, and Anglo-Saxon roots and affixes to draw inferences concerning the meaning of scientific and mathematical terminology.
    • 1.3 Discern the meaning of analogies encountered, analyzing specific comparisons as well as relationships and inferences.
    • 2.1 Analyze both the features and the rhetorical devices of different types of public documents (e.g., policy statements, speeches, debates, platforms) and the way in which authors use those features and devices.
    • 2.2 Analyze the way in which clarity of meaning is affected by the patterns of organization, hierarchical structures, repetition of the main ideas, syntax, and word choice in the text.
  • Writing:
    • 2.3 Write reflective compositions:a. Explore the significance of personal experiences, events, conditions, or concerns by using rhetorical strategies (e.g., narration, description, exposition, persuasion).b. Draw comparisons between specific incidents and broader themes that illustrate the writer's important beliefs or generalizations about life.c. Maintain a balance in describing individual incidents and relate those incidents to more general and abstract ideas.
Quickwrite (on a separate sheet of paper, to be turned in) For the next 5 minutes please respond to the following topic

“Hounding the Innocent” by Bob Herbert tries to persuade its readers that law-enforcement agents should not take action on the basis of race alone. It uses a combination of logic and emotion to achieve its purpose. Have you ever been stopped by the police because of your appearance? If you have, what was your reaction? If you haven’t, what do you think your reaction would be? Why do you think you would react this way?

surveying the text same paper as quickwrite
Surveying the Text (same paper as quickwrite)

Answer the following questions about the text. You will need the article.

  • Who is the author of this essay?
  • When and where was this essay published?
  • What organizational signposts do you notice in this essay?
  • What do you think each of these sections will talk about?
making predictions and asking questions notes
Making Predictions and Asking Questions (notes)
  • What do you think this essay is going to be about?
  • What do you think is the purpose of this essay?
  • Who do you think is the intended audience for this piece? What brings you to this conclusion?
  • What do you think the writer wants the reader to do or believe
predictions and questions cont
Predictions and Questions (cont.)
  • On the basis of the title and other features of the selection, what information or ideas might this essay present?
  • Will the article be negative or positive in relation to the topic? How did you com to this conclusion?
  • What argument about the topic might the article present? What makes you think so?
  • Turn the title into a question(s) for you to answer after you have read the essay.
introducing key concepts notes
Introducing Key Concepts (notes)
  • Below are some important words from Herbert’s essay. Write down your thoughts on these terms.
    • race
    • prejudice
    • ethnic
    • anti-Semitism
    • discrimination
    • preconceived notions
    • profiling
    • stereotyping
vocabulary building cubing notes
Vocabulary building: Cubing (notes)

Complete this activity for four of the key concept words:






preconceived notions



Fill in all the “cubes” for each of the words you’ve chosen.


This is an example for prejudice.

Since I have provided you with this example I DO NOT want you to chose prejudice and write the exact same answers. If you chose prejudice you MUST come up with your own, original, and unique answers.

key vocabulary notes
Key Vocabulary (notes)
  • profiling (from the subtitle): making judgments about someone on the basis of appearance
  • abomination (paragraph 2): an object that is intensely disliked
  • dismantled (paragraph 5): taken apart
  • perpetuated (paragraph 7): continued
  • unconscionable (paragraph 11): not reasonable
  • Try to use two of these words to define two of the words from the Key Concepts.
first reading
First reading…
  • As you read the essay, look closely for answers to the following questions:
    • Introduction:
      • In the introduction, how does Herbert establish the significance of racial profiling?
    • The Faces of Ethnic Profiling:
      • Why does the author tell the story about Sergeant Rossano Gerald and his son? How does it start to make the essay’s point?
      • What is the main point of this section?
    • Profiling Targets the Innocent:
      • Why does the author give these facts about New York pedestrians?
      • What is the main point of this section?
    • Profiling is Extensive:
      • What are the consequences of racial profiling?