In 2018, most white North Americans tend to think we live in a pretty “woke” society where racial profiling is on the way out. Because most white people have never directly experienced racial profiling, it’s difficult for them to see the ongoing widespread effects of it – but that doesn’t mean it’s not happening.
Whether it amounts to being followed too closely by security in a shop, being passed over at a job interview or being pulled over by a police officer, the systematic practice of racial profiling creates deep psychological and practical problems for indigenous and racialized groups. If your children or teens fall into those categories, make sure they’re educated on the matter – pretending it doesn’t exist leads to gaslighting, low self-esteem with potentially life-shattering consequences.
Justice Is Colourblind; Cops Are Not
Many cops in the old guard would claim that racial profiling is a hoax and that all ethnic groups are treated the same. However, there is a tendency for the police to investigate “suspicious activity” (read as: visible minorities) in predominantly white neighbourhoods, while the opposite scenario is virtually unheard of.
A younger generation of law enforcement – and, to be fair, some of the old guard – are more prone to self-examination and the possibility that they are in fact profiling, even if it’s happening on an unconscious level. To ignore the problem altogether is to ignore the proverbial elephant in the room, to make a significant change requires the recognition of an insidious behaviour pattern.
Race in the Courtroom
If your teen is arrested under circumstances that could be construed as racial discrimination, it could play prominently in the case for their defense. Drug charges, assault charges and DUI’s may have been blown out of proportion due to the arresting officer’s bias. Statistically speaking, the number of indigenous or racialized teens arrested per annum is so staggeringly disproportionate to that of white teens, it stands to reason that white teens simply get away with more.
An experienced defense lawyer should be able to seamlessly incorporate a racial profiling argument into a more robust strategy. Regardless of the circumstances, if your teen is arrested it is imperative that you contact a reliable criminal defense lawyer immediately – you can visit Shaffie Law to learn more about what a quality defense lawyer offers,which should include a free consultation and deep knowledge of the prosecution’s modus operandi.
Many first and second-generation immigrants take discrimination in stride because it has sadly been such a prominent part of their experience in North America. Overcoming this adversity can lead to a tougher skin and a heightened awareness of a real, observable phenomenon. For the children of immigrants who are raised with the idea that they are truly American or Canadian citizens, it can be confusing and traumatic when they are treated like second-class citizens, mocked and excluded.
If you experienced traumatic racial discrimination and harboured a wish that your children might be free of it, you may need to check your expectations. Society has a long way to go in that regard, and “shielding” your kids from this harsh aspect of experience may be harmful.
Society may be slowly moving in the right direction, but we still have a long way to go. Don’t let your kids become a statistic, remember: knowledge is power.