Findlaw has a very interesting book review that deals with the benefits of stereotyping. Well, not "stereotyping" as most people think of it, but generalizations about group behavior. The author argues that American law basically deals with generalities - we prefer the certainty and predictability of general rules rather than the possibility of perfect justice that would come through a system of complete judicial discretion. Applying that principle to investigations leads to the conclusion that some kinds of profiling, although probably not racial profiling, are a good thing. Particularly if those doing the profiling are honest and open about it. It's an interesting theory.