Racial Profiling In Canada Essay Contest

Racial Profiling In Canada Essay

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 to harsher treatment than non-blacks when charged with identical crimes (2009). These claims are confirmed in “2003 and 2004, [where] self-reporting by police officers in Kingston, Ontario revealed that the city’s African-Canadian and Aboriginal residents were significantly more likely to be stopped” (Cassola 2009). When racial profiling is used as a policing tool, Cassola maintains there is no evidence that one race over an other will take part in illegal activity. When using statistics to prove one race may commit a crime more often than others, she claims the results of this “are unreliable because they are themselves a reflection of racial profiling”. Due to this unreliability, she asserts that racial profiling is a useless policing tool. She continues to claim that by using race rather than personal behaviour, it allows those who do not fit the racial profile to be de-criminalized. In addition to this, she emphasizes that racial profiling “violates [our] constitutional right to be free from arbitrary detention and unreasonable searches, to be treated equally in front of the law, and to be treated without discrimination, stereotyping or prejudice”. To do this, she explains it can cause great apprehension of...

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Bernard Chernos Essay Contest

Each year, The Canadian Civil Liberties Education Trust (CCLET) runs a nation-wide high school competition to commemorate the contributions of the late Bernard Chernos, a civil libertarian, lawyer, and lover of lively debate. Student submissions must respond to one of the questions about fundamental freedoms posed by the CCLET that year.

NEW FOR THE 2017-2018 SCHOOL YEAR: Students have the option to submit their responses as an essay OR video “rant” in the style of Rick Mercer, one of Canada’s most famous political humorists.

Students currently enrolled in grades 9 through 12 in a Canadian school are eligible to participate.

Teachers of Civics, History, Law, Politics, World Issues, World Religions, English, and Social Studies: This contest makes for a great ready-made classroom project. Consider assigning it to students and submitting the best selections to our contest!

STUDENT PRIZES:  

1st place: $500 + book
2nd place: $150 + book
3rd place: $100 + book

For more details on how to participate, download this year’s contest flyer here.

If you would like to see previous years’ questions, download them here.

PAST WINNERS

Congratulations to the 2017 winners of CCLET’s Bernard Chernos Essay Competition!

1st Place: William Dunstan, St. Matthew High School, Ottawa, ON
2nd Place: Desislava Stoianova, Victoria Park Collegiate Institute, Scarborough, ON
3rd Place: Kirandeep Deol, Old Scona Academic, Edmonton, AB

For a listing of previous years’ winners, click here.

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