My mother was home when the neighbors were burglarized, today. Of course, the person who robbed them was a foreign, dark-skinned individual. What are the odds that a crime was committed by a non-white person, right? Well, the young man actually lives with the neighbors and was coming home when a passer-by saw him and called the police.
When my mother was out in the garden, she noticed a police car stopping on the suburban street in Mölndal, Sweden. She asked a police officer what was happening, to which he answered that the neighbors' house was being burglarized and that she should go inside her own home. She did, and waited for a half hour; then she heard, though an open window, that the police were going to do a background check on the person. She went outside and asked what was happening again, and it turned out that the "burglar" was no other than the foreign person living with the neighbors; he was no burglar at all, and was just going about his day when someone decided to sic the cops on him.
There have been break-ins in the area, so it is great that people keep a watchful eye on things. But I must wonder: Would the passer-by have called the police had she seen someone who is not foreign? Would she have called the police had she seen a white person, someone who looks Swedish? She does not appear to live on the street, so she probably did not know who lives in the house (she would know the couple there have a foreign man living with them); thus, it seems rather likely that she was, indeed, profiling the poor guy. Would she have acted differently if he were older, younger, female, darker, or whiter? At the very least, it is interesting to reflect on where the mind goes based on superficial criteria like race, ethnicity, gender, and age.