What ensuing action, what logical end, does racial profiling produce that racism would not?
Recently Mamadi 111 Fara Camara, a Black man was accused of injuring a police officer during a routine traffic stop. Although claiming innocence from the moment of his arrest, he was nevertheless arrested and put into detention for six nights, before being finally released.
The entire situation has the feel of a fatalistic serial replete with redundant plot lines—a production that few of us wish to watch, and that a great many of Montreal’s law and order representatives are complicit in creating. This is in no way imaginary.
The SPVM’s deputy director Simonetta Barth, and Chief of Police Sylvain Caron insisted that the six- night detention was not a case of racial or social profiling.
Instead the Black man was arrested based on the evidence that was available to investigators at the time. Such a statement only establishes that history does not repeat itself verbatim, it usually changes the proper nouns.
The grossly stilted conversations that have followed situations such as this have largely focused on the meaning and implications of the nonsensical phrase “racial profiling”. Nothing better illustrates the slick, manipulative power of euphemism, than the fact that dialogues have taken seriously this non-term. What ensuing action, what logical end, does racial profiling produce that abject racism would not? There is no such thing as racial profiling—there is simply racism, or racial policing.
However, the definition of racial profiling is far from uncontroversial: What exactly is meant by racial profiling? Under what definition does the SPVM operate?
The supposed definition of “racial profiling”—that the alleged behavior of any fragment of a population becomes the basis for categorizing it in its sum, that skin hues are a valid means of reflexively predicting character—is what in more honest moments in our past, simply referred to as racism.
The Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent through its country visits to Canada highlighted that there was evidence of racial profiling in the practices used by the law enforcement authorities in Ottawa.
An independent report that looked at three years of data from 2014-2017, and authored by three university professors showed that in Montreal, visible minorities are more likely to be stopped than their white counterparts by officers with the city’s police force.
The report also stopped short of concluding racial profiling, but among its recommendations to the police department was the addressing of racial profiling in its plans, programs and practices.
In December 2017, SPVM Director Sylvain Caron presented city council with the force’s 2018-21 Plan to Prevent Racial Profiling — a document that was short on details but included building stronger ties with communities.
Is building stronger community ties as advocated by Police Chief Caron, the panacea to the issue of racial profiling? What should the police department be doing to root out racist police? How do we eliminate possible bigots with badges?
White people are overrepresented on the SPVM, and that needs to change. It is not to say Black officers are all good or white officers are all bad, but such a disparity needs to be remedied.
The prime minister of Canada and the mayor of Montreal both condemned the unfortunate incident and additionally have called for an independent inquiry.
It is blatantly evident that the term racial profiling remains a euphemism for democratic racism in which racialized bias and discrimination cloaks its presence.
On the part of Blacks, what is needed now, and what has always been needed remain the political will to challenge.
The power of the ballot must be demonstrated. The time has come for us to take stock of the power of our vote, and no longer be taken for granted.
A change has gotta come, and only the ballot will bring about that change. Let the name gaming cease.
Racial Profiling= Racial Policing = Racism.
Aleuta—The struggle continues.