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BRUSSELS — Several years ago, as terrorism, immigration, and unrest in suburban Paris were at the top of the news in France, a French police officer confided to a researcher: “If you consider different levels of trafficking, it is obviously done by blacks and Arabs. If you are on the road and see a black man or a man with Arabic features, you say to yourself, ‘He doesn’t look French,’ and then you might stop him to see if he has papers.”

This police officer was describing a textbook example of “ethnic profiling”: law enforcement officials use of stereotypes, rather than specific information about behavior, in deciding to stop, search or detain people.

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