IS RACIAL PROFILING A NECESSARY EVIL?

In a perfect world, everybody would have the same level of opportunity, and would espouse to the same high values as the rest of society. In a perfect world, there would be no crime, no hate, and no prejudice. Unfortunately, we don’t live in that world. We are stuck here.

Every so often the issue of racial profiling is brought up in the press or at a town hall or city council meeting. Racial profiling is the singling out of a specific subgroup of our population usually based on those attributes protected by our Charter of Rights, such as race, religion, or another easily identifiable trait.

It is condemned as being divisive and prejudicial, and for the most part, it would be great if it wasn’t needed. It is headlined because it sells. While there are many who are quick to condemn this practice, since we are such an ‘open’ society with such amazing freedom, I will be bold and ask the question that I hear others murmur. Do we sometimes need racial profiling, and what causes that need?

Racial profiling has been equated with racism, but I think that those who do that are too quick to point fingers, and don’t truly weigh all the factors. For instance, this week in New York, transit police have been doing random searches of parcels and bags of riders entering the transit system. It has been said that a disproportionate amount of the searches have been focused on those of middle eastern descent or of those who are dressed in islamic garb.

Since most of those who are causing the terror that is spanning the globe, and especially the train bombings in London and Madrid, fit this profile, doesn’t this make total sense? One would have to have their head stuck in the sand not to see the connection. Stopping a person because they are muslim is not the same thing as stopping a muslim because muslims are blowing up trains and buses.

I, for one, if I were a peace loving muslim who condemned the actions of those terrorists, would care less if I was stopped and quickly searched. I would consider it a small sacrifice to help keep my country secure. I would also feel safer getting onto the subway or bus knowing that the authorities were being diligent.

Knowing that people of the islamic religion and of middle eastern descent were being searched may make some Arabic nutcase decide that its not a good time to blow people up.

As well, Toronto Police have been accused of pulling drivers over in Scarborough because of their race. Has it escaped no one’s attention that most of the shootings in Scarborough and Toronto are committed by young black men? This would probably lead police to be more likely to pull over cars with numerous young black men inside them. Does this make them racist? I don’t think so, and neither do many of the people I have asked.

The fact is that we have a growing gang problem in this city, and it involves mainly gangs consisting of young black males. Making our police officers second guess pulling over a car because they may be accused of racial profiling could cause innocent lives. I wish that one black youth would never again die at the hands of another black youth, I truly do, as it is a tragic shame and a waste of a mother’s dreams as to how these youths are dying, but this is the world that we live in. I am not trying to say that all black youth are bad, it is quite the opposite. I have many friends, and some are black. I am in no way trying to paint anyone with a brush, as there are good and bad in any group. The facts about our gangs, however, are just that. Facts.

Those who stand up and yell racism at every opportunity do it because it is the only thing that they know how to do. It is a small segment of our population that make their living off of the contentions that are found between groups. They keep the discontent alive because it gives them purpose. They don’t look for real solutions, they just stir up emotions.

There will always be those who gravitate to violence instead of peacefulness. They are white, black, religious, and not. They all have one thing in common. That is that they make the rest of their kind suspect, no matter what their heritage.

To look at a muslim man on the subway, and to wonder if he is up to something, is only natural in today’s political climate. It may be a sad commentary on our world, and is very unfortunate. It is not the ideal that we would aspire to, but given the circumstances of the events that have unfolded around all of us for the past few years, it is completely normal, and it doesn’t make you a racist. There is a saying, “It only takes one to ruin it for all.” Let us hope that this time passes quickly.