Racial Profiling in Canada: Challenging the Myth of 'a Few Bad Apples'

By Frances Henry and Carol Tator

© 2006

In October 2002, the Toronto Star ran a series of feature articles on racial profiling in which it was indicated that Toronto police routinely target young Black men when making traffic stops. The articles drew strong reactions from the community, and considerable protest from the media, politicians, law enforcement officials, and other public authorities. Although the articles were supported by substantial documentation and statistical evidence, the Toronto Police Association sued the Star, claiming that no such evidence existed. The lawsuit was ultimately rejected in court. As a result, however, the issue of racial profiling - a practice in which certain criminal activities are attributed to individuals or groups on the basis of race or ethno-racial background - was thrust into the national spotlight.

In this comprehensive and thought-provoking work, Carol Tator and Frances Henry explore the meaning of racial profiling in Canada as it is practised not only by the police but also by many other social institutions. The authors provide a theoretical framework within which they examine racial profiling from a number of perspectives and in a variety of situations. They analyse the discourses of the media, policing officials, politicians, civil servants, judges, and other public authorities to demonstrate how those in power communicate and produce existing racialized ideologies and social relations of inequality through their common interactions. Chapter 3, by contributing author Charles Smith, provides a comparison of experiences of racial profiling and policing in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Chapter 7, by Maureen Brown, through a series of interviews, presents stories that demonstrate the realities of racial profiling in the everyday experiences of Afro-Canadians and ethno-racial minorities.

Informed by a wealth of research and theoretical approaches from a wide range of disciplines, Racial Profiling in Canada makes a major contribution to the literature and debates on a topic of growing concern. Together the authors present a compelling examination of the pervasiveness of racial profiling in daily life and its impact on our society, while suggesting directions for change.

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Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 304 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.1in x 0.7in x 9.0in
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Quick Overview

Informed by a wealth of research and theoretical approaches from a wide range of disciplines, Racial Profiling in Canada makes a major contribution to the literature and debates on a topic of growing concern.

Racial Profiling in Canada: Challenging the Myth of 'a Few Bad Apples'

By Frances Henry and Carol Tator

© 2006

In October 2002, the Toronto Star ran a series of feature articles on racial profiling in which it was indicated that Toronto police routinely target young Black men when making traffic stops. The articles drew strong reactions from the community, and considerable protest from the media, politicians, law enforcement officials, and other public authorities. Although the articles were supported by substantial documentation and statistical evidence, the Toronto Police Association sued the Star, claiming that no such evidence existed. The lawsuit was ultimately rejected in court. As a result, however, the issue of racial profiling - a practice in which certain criminal activities are attributed to individuals or groups on the basis of race or ethno-racial background - was thrust into the national spotlight.

In this comprehensive and thought-provoking work, Carol Tator and Frances Henry explore the meaning of racial profiling in Canada as it is practised not only by the police but also by many other social institutions. The authors provide a theoretical framework within which they examine racial profiling from a number of perspectives and in a variety of situations. They analyse the discourses of the media, policing officials, politicians, civil servants, judges, and other public authorities to demonstrate how those in power communicate and produce existing racialized ideologies and social relations of inequality through their common interactions. Chapter 3, by contributing author Charles Smith, provides a comparison of experiences of racial profiling and policing in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Chapter 7, by Maureen Brown, through a series of interviews, presents stories that demonstrate the realities of racial profiling in the everyday experiences of Afro-Canadians and ethno-racial minorities.

Informed by a wealth of research and theoretical approaches from a wide range of disciplines, Racial Profiling in Canada makes a major contribution to the literature and debates on a topic of growing concern. Together the authors present a compelling examination of the pervasiveness of racial profiling in daily life and its impact on our society, while suggesting directions for change.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 304 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.1in x 0.7in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    This fascinating, ambitious, and highly readable book provides a detailed analysis of racial profiling in Canada. The authors expertly blend complex theoretical ideas about racial profiling, racism, racial ideology, and power differentials with interesting accounts of how racial profiling unfolds in everyday life, in police actions, police discourses, media descriptions, and other counter-discourses. I am not aware of another book in Canada that addresses these issues in such a powerful way.


    Peter Li,
    Department of Sociology, University of Saskatchewan
  • Author Information

    Frances Henry is a Professor Emerita, York University. She is one of Canada's leading experts in the study of racism and anti-racism, specializing in Caribbean anthropology.



    Carol Tator is Course Director in the Department of Anthropology at York University.

  • Table of contents

    Acknowledgments

    Introduction

    1. Theoretical Perspectives
    2. The Interlocking Web of Racism across Institutions, Systems, and Structures
    3. Racial Profiling in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom
      CHARLES C. SMITH
    4. The Culture of Policing
    5. The Role of Narrative Inquiry in Social Science Research: Understanding Dominant and Oppositional Discourses
    6. The Dominant Discourses of White Public Authorities: Narratives of Denial, Deflection, and Oppression
    7. In Their Own Voices: African Canadians in Toronto Share Experiences of Racial Profiling
      MAUREEN BROWN
    8. From Narratives to Social Change: Patterns and Possibilities

    Glossary

    Table of Cases

    References

    Index

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