Here’s an interesting “article”:http://sympaticomsn.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/1117145635847_112554835?hub=topstories in Canadian news today about the Kingston (I can only assume they’re referring to Kingston, Ontario) police force:
“Kingston’s police chief apologized to the city’s black community Thursday after a controversial study found officers are more likely to stop black people than whites.”
The police chief went on to specify that the officers themselves had no reason to apologise because:
“What we’re doing wrong if we’re doing anything wrong is systemic and that’s my problem.”
I think it’s great that the existence of a problem of racial profiling is being addressed. However, I find it fascinating that the chief of police is willing to carry the blame for a long tradition of systemic and institutionalised racism in Canada (although I realise that this is probably not his intention). As an individual and an authority figure, he can certainly exert some influence on the people under his command, while he is in command.
The problem, though, is that racial profiling is a symptom of a wider societal problem that reaches far beyond the police force. The roots of this problem are tightly intertwined with educational and political problems that also need to be examined. That being said, I’m sceptical about the exercise of looking at police practices in isolation from the social and cultural context within which they are located.
But, hey, it’s a start and I sure can’t complain about the issue being given some recognition and acknowledgement; enough so that an actual scientific study was conducted with the cooperation of the police force. I’m looking forward to hearing about what will be done at a concrete level once the report is fully analysed.