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  • Nicola Moore

The effects of racial profiling

Updated: Mar 23, 2021

I was having a conversation with someone who I thought I knew until she said something that has made me write this post. She thinks we have had the same hardships and I know she has no idea about black history, let alone my black history. And not to discredit her but, why would she? She never had to think about it until 2021, when people of colour must think about it daily.

To argue that "racial profiling is harmless", or that "it only hurts those who break the law" is to totally ignore the psychological and social damage that can result from always being considered one of the usual suspects.

Each person wants to be viewed and treated as an individual. Think about the harm that is being done to those who find themselves within a cluster they do not belong in. Who can begin to appreciate the level of frustration within these individuals and the future cost to society to disenfranchise these innocent citizens.

Research psychologists have studied the psychological effects of racial profiling and found that “victim effects” of racial profiling include post-traumatic stress disorder and other forms of stress-related disorders, perceptions of race-related threats and failure to use available community resources.

The impact of profiling extends beyond those who directly experience it. It also impacts on families, friends, classmates, and neighbours. This means that the social and economic cost of racial profiling is widespread. This racial profiling is affecting individuals, families, communities and our Ontario society as a whole. They demonstrate why profiling is a harmful practice and illustrate the need for strong measures to combat profiling.

As illustrated in this Report, racial profiling, among other things, compromises our future through its impact on our children and youth, creates mistrust in our institutions, impacts our communities’ sense of belonging and level of civic participation and impacts on human dignity. Therefore, social cohesion is no doubt undermined by racial profiling at a high economic cost to the province of Ontario society and Canada as a whole.

Many parents reported raising their children differently because of a fear of racial profiling. This included counselling their children to behave a certain way, having rules about how their children dress in public and limiting when their children are permitted to go out and where they go. Parents felt that these strategies and coping mechanisms are necessary to prepare their children for potential incidents of profiling and to protect their children from the negative consequences. This type of experience cannot help but have a profound effect on a child or young person as the fear of racial profiling and the consequent need to alter his or her behaviour becomes ingrained in his or her psyche.

In other words, watch what you say and realize that you have been programed to think your thoughts. Learning about other cultures aside from your own is imperative and more important then it ever has been. Thank you for reading.


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