Racial profiling is one issue that can ignite emotions and inflame situations; partly because the allegations strike at the very core of our personal beliefs and partly because it is so difficult to prove or disprove. Who knows what runs through a cop’s mind when making split-second decisions to stop and/or detain someone? What role does race play in those decisions? These are difficult questions and better left to psychologists to answer.
I suppose the best we can do in creating a society that respects difference is to be mindful of our own prejudices and be open and honest about them when they float to the surface. Institutions, like the police, schools and the media, must do more to recognize the systemic barriers to inclusion that can become common place and have strict procedures to deal with any infractions of policies that prohibit these practices.
Will these measures stop the practice of assuming one person is more likely to commit a crime merely because of the colour of their skin or their ethnicity? Probably not. I believe, what they will do is send a clear and unequivocal message that these behaviours are unacceptable for individuals sworn to serve and protect and regardless of what personal attitudes and beliefs you may hold, they have no place on the job.