This a devil's advocate question, because I don't know of a study/data to directly answer this comment on skeptics. However, I cannot reraise that as a question there because I can't find any notable source making such a claim.

Off the top of my head, it seems a bit silly to assume that police can more easily identify someone's socioeconomic status (SES) than his skin color, but there may be other mediating factors at play, such as neighborhood etc. There is in fact one hypothetical story on Gawker that seems to follow the same line of reasoning, even if just implictly:

Let’s say you’re a teenaged black male living in public housing in an impoverished neighborhood. Your local public schools are far inferior to those in wealthy neighborhoods, and you’re financially cut off from private schooling. Without a good education, your opportunities for economic betterment are few, so you turn to selling drugs. Because drug enforcement across the country favors arrests in poor and nonwhite communities, you’re arrested outside your apartment. You become one of the 30 percent. [...] Eventually, you go back to jail, and as a repeat offender your chances of a felony conviction are higher. The process repeats itself.

Meanwhile, the white college senior across town has been selling coke to partygoers for his entire four-year tenure. The cops don’t patrol his dorm building like they do your housing project, and they don’t make Terry stops in his upscale neighborhood like they do in your ghetto. You’ve committed the same crimes, but he never encounters the police, never gets wrapped up in the criminal justice system. You are one of the 30 percent. He is not. He goes on to become a doctor, a lawyer, a banker, a cop.

So perhaps the question whether racial profiling is better explained by the SES of the suspect deserves a more serious look/answer.

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    It could be, but note that part of the issue is that that are strong correlations between race and socioeconomic status. Regardless of the reason (skin color, vs. socioeconomic status), it's profiling, and being done disproportionately to those groups despite that fact that they aren't necessarily finding more violations. Example: news.stanford.edu/2016/06/28/…
    – user1530
    Nov 26 '17 at 22:09
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    Wealthy blacks (with expensive cars) are more likely to get pulled over as it's assumed by some law enforcement think it might've been stolen.
    – Noah
    Nov 26 '17 at 22:36
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    It does look however that in some US cities the police is also targeting the poor reason.com/archives/2014/01/08/…
    – Fizz
    Nov 26 '17 at 22:51
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    Trevor Noah (TV show host that went to the USA as a host, meaning that he was well off from the beginning) explains that in 6 years he has been stopped by the police 8 times... youtu.be/aufMdURbitU?t=41. Anyway, I think the question would be better suited for law.se, where they can answer the criteria to define discrimination by race, "by proxy", and if the later is allowed.
    – SJuan76
    Nov 27 '17 at 0:11
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    @jamesqf but he was not a poor young guy when this happened (that is the point, he went to the USA in hist thirties with a good paying job from day one), and in the video (just after the point I selected) he talks about how he believed it was normal until he talked to white people in his environment and found that it was not normal to them.
    – SJuan76
    Nov 27 '17 at 0:40

I found something satisfactory in a paper titled "Explaining Discrepancies in Arrest Rates Between Black and White Male Juveniles":

A higher incidence of early risk factors accounted for racial differences related to any juvenile arrest, as well as differences in violence- and theft-related arrests. However, increased exposure to early risk factors did not explain race differences in drug-related arrests.

In particular, SES explained theft but not other arrests.


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