Racial profiling is the act of suspecting or targeting a person of a certain race based on a stereotype about their race, rather than on individual suspicion.  More commonly in the U.S, racial profiling is thought of in the sense of the law enforcement at the local, state, and federal levels and the racial discrimination of people in the Black, Muslim, Latino, Asian, and Native American communities.  In European countries, the term ethnic profiling is also used instead of racial profiling.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU):
Besides such disproportionate searching of African Americans, and members of other minority groups, other examples of racial profiling by law enforcement in the U.S. include the targeting of Hispanic and Latino Americans in the investigation of illegal immigration; and the focus on Middle Eastern and South Asians present in the country in screenings for ties to Islamic terrorism. These suspicions are typically on the basis of racist, and/or derogatory beliefs about the group of target, and assumes the criminal ideologies of one individual from a specific racial group is a trait held by all members of that racial group.
According to Minnesota House of Representatives analyst Jim Cleary, there appear to be at least two clearly distinguishable definitions of the term racial profiling: a narrow definition and a broad definition... Under the narrow definition, racial profiling occurs when a police officer stops and/or searches someone solely on the basis of the persons race or ethnicity... Under the broader definition, racial profiling occurs whenever police routinely use race as a factor that, along with an accumulation of other factors, causes an officer to react with suspicion and take action.
A study conducted by Domestic Human Rights Program of Amnesty International USA found that racial profiling has increased since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and that state laws cannot provide sufficient and consistent protections against