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Essay on Racial Profiling in Canada

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There is dispute regarding what defines racial profiling. Critics ask Is it racist, or is a necessary part of law enforcement. Racial profiling is identified by Adele Cassola in her article as unjust whereas Denyse Coles argues that racial profiling is necessary and is not considered racism. According to the Ontario Human Rights Commission “Racial profiling is based on stereotypical assumptions because of one’s race, colour, ethnicity, etc.” whereas criminal profiling “relies on actual behaviour or on information about suspected activity by someone who meets the description of a specific individual” (Facts Sheet, para 2). This definition is also shared by Casola but Coles considers them as the same. It is important to separate fact from feelings when discussing racial profiling; stereotypes are offensive, however identifying one’s race in a criminal profile does not make one racist.
In the article “Point: Racial Profiling in Law Enforcement is Unjust”, Adele Cassola determines that racial profiling is an extensive problem in policing across Canada. She identifies that racial profiling is based on stereotypes of race, ethnicity, and cultural background with African-Canadians, Arab-Canadians, and Aboriginal Canadians being targeted most frequently. Racial profiling is not unique to law enforcement and immigration, Cassola asserts, “it is a wide spread problem within other institutions and establishments as well” (2009). She discovered a survey that showed Toronto's African-Canadian secondary school students were stopped four times more frequently and searched six times more frequently than their non-black classmates. In an article from the Toronto Star newspaper in 2002, Cassola notes that African-Canadians were subject...


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...d a clear definition in each provincial agency across Canada will help resolve the discrepancy in the way racial profiling is viewed. To identify one’s height, weight or skin color is an important part of creating a criminal profile and is not racial profiling. Agencies do, however, need to be sensitive to avoid stereotyping and avoid the common pitfalls that have given them a bad name in the past.



Works Cited

Cassola, A. (2009). Point: Racial Profiling in Law Enforcement is Unjust. Retrieved from Canadian Points of View Reference Centre.
Coles, D. (2009). Counterpoint: Racial Profiling is a Responsible Approach to Law Enforcement. Retrieved from Canadian Points of View Reference Centre.
Ontario. Ontario Human Rights Commission. (2011). What is Racial Profiling? Retrieved from http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/resources/factsheets/whatisracialprofiling/view


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