In 2005, Ottawa resident Chad Aiken, who was 18 at the time, was stopped by police while driving his mother’s Mercedes Benz. Aiken, who is African Canadian, says an officer originally pulled him over for not wearing a seatbelt, even though allegedly, all his passengers were. Instead of receiving a ticket for his lack of a seatbelt, instead he was given one for having a rear light on his license plate burnt out. In a confrontation with the police officer, Aiken alleges that he was punched in the chest. As a settlement reached in 2013 between the police force and the Ontario Human Rights Commission, Ottawa police agreed to a 2 year data collection study. Police will collect statistics on the race people pull over at a traffic stop in one of the biggest racial data projects ever embraced by a Canadian policing service. However, Aiken did not agree with the settlement of data collection as it only includes vehicle stops. Aiken argues that racial profiling does not just happen in vehicle stops, it happens in pedestrian stops. In June of 2015, the African Canadian Legal Clinic successfully argued that the racial profilin...
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...criminal perceived as a brown-skinned Muslim might inspire hatred and suspicion of other brown-skinned Muslims. How does this affect African Canadians? Black and brown people experience disproportionately high rates of poverty, underemployment and poorer health outcomes. In societies fundamentally structured by race, understanding one’s white privilege, regardless of other social characteristics or positions one embodies, is deeply important.
In my final analysis, I note that racial classifications are based on socially constructed ideas created by dominant groups, rather than biology. Unfortunately, this creates racial inequalities such as white privilege, which has beneficiaries. Since most of those beneficiaries aren’t fully aware of their advantages, the inequities won’t simply fade away. We need to actively work to redress the imbalances and level the field.
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