Racial Profiling: Not Just A Minority Issue


With rising tension between police and minorities, the issue with racial profiling is one that Canadians still feel the psychological, emotional and physical repercussions from. Studies show being stopped by police because of your skin colour not only causes harm to the person stopped, but affects the family and friends of that person. Toronto is a city that has neighbourhoods with higher crime rates and higher rates of racial profiling. Jim Rankin, a news writer for the Toronto Star and racial profiling speaker, discussed his thoughts on what needs to happen in this matter.

“Experts will tell you that racial profiling is a bad tool. Has a crime been committed nearby? Is someone in imminent danger? What is suspicious? Some in policing believe smarter intelligence-led policing is the way to go, not just stopping anything that moves. Also, true community policing where individual officers are assigned long term to patrol certain areas and actually get to know the community, so that when something is about to happen, they might hear about it, and after something does happen, they will know who to talk to for help. Toronto is doing this now in a number of places in the city” he said.

The American Psychological Association examined the affects of racial profiling and had found that it can negatively affect those who have encountered it to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Communities who are targeted by racial profiling find themselves distrusting the police, which Rankin believes causes communities to collapse. “Experts on the subject will tell you that, in terms of law enforcement, heavily policing racialized people can lead to communities feeling that they are being criminalized. It can lead to arrests and charges and criminal records that affect future employment. It can particularly affect young people, who may as a result view authority — the police — with mistrust. If you don’t trust police, things start falling apart. People don’t speak to police following crimes, which go unsolved. The community, experts suggest, may become less safe,” he said.

The youth suffer the most from racial profiling. Studies have shown that children in the education system who feel racially profiled as being “aggressive” and “slow” eventually become less interested in school. This affects the greater community because the youth are our future. On hopes for the future of deducing racial profiling, Rankin says “I hope it does diminish but people are human. Everybody has biases, whether they are conscious or not. These biases are in play in nearly all facets of society where you will find humans. It’s how we recognize and control for those biases that matters. “

Although this is still an issue minority Canadians are facing, it’s an issue that also affects the greater community. The more awareness brought to the topic, the more progressive the future in Toronto will be with combatting crime.



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