University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
The Student Teachers Anti-Racism Society (STARS) promotes anti-racism education at the College of Education, University of Saskatchewan through the support of the College. We work collaboratively to understand, identify, and address individual and systemic racism and its interlocking forms of oppression based on gender, sexuality, ability, class, religion and other socially constructed categories. We believe that anti-racist and decolonizing education, when woven together, can create humanizing and emancipatory change for everyone.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

What Would You Do? Racial Profiling

Shopping While Black is a video about a social experiment on racial profiling in America from the television show What Would You Do? 

Watch more episodes at ABC News "What Would You do?" There are many video clips you can use in the classroom on racism, homophobia, ableism, classism and other forms of discrimination. As with many other resources on this blog, the videos can spur critical thought about racism and other interlocking systems of oppression in Saskatchewan through first thinking about and understanding how racism/oppression operates in a different location. Racial profiling in Saskatchewan is something we need to start talking about more openly with all students. It is real, it happens and only we as a community can stop it.

To support the What Would You Do video on racial profiling there are many resources available on line. One resource comes from the CBC: http://www.cbc.ca/player/Radio/The+Current/ID/2360236229/

What is racial profiling? Racial profiling is usually defined in a law enforcement context. One study published in the Canadian Review of Policing Research defined it as "a racial disparity in police stop and search practices, customs searches at airports and border-crossings, in police patrols in minority neighbourhoods and in undercover activities or sting operations which target particular ethnic groups."

The Ontario Human Rights Commission took a broader approach, defining it as "any action undertaken for reasons of safety, security or public protection that relies on stereotypes about race, colour, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, or place of origin rather than on reasonable suspicion, to single out an individual for greater scrutiny or different treatment."
Racial profiling is usually defined in a law enforcement context.
The OHRC gives some non-police-related examples of what it considers racial profiling:
  • School officials suspend a Latino child for violating the school's zero tolerance policy while a white child's behaviour is excused as being normal child's play.
  • An employer insists on stricter security clearance for a Muslim employee after the Sept. 11 attacks.
  • A bar refuses to serve Aboriginal customers because of a belief they will get drunk and rowdy.
Accusations of differential treatment arise in areas where authorities can exercise their discretion. If police stopped every car, or if customs officers directed everyone for follow-up scrutiny, there would be no talk of racial profiling. But when that discretion is exercised, members of many minority groups feel that they come out with the short end of the baton – that they somehow always have to prove their innocence.

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