by Jamie Floyd
It’s time again! Time for me to rant about being a black student at Dawson. Only this time, I feel compelled not only to rant, but to ask you, yes you, a question.
What are your first impressions when you see a black person, or a group of black people, be it in the metro or around Dawson? Okay, unfair because you cannot answer, so I will give you my answer: I am somewhat scared! Honestly, there I said it; black people freak me out sometimes. Since recently acquiring a social life, I find myself coming home later at night and frequently in the vicinity of intimidating black people in the metro. I have never seen them doing anything illegal, besides the obvious and widely done weed smoking, loitering, and wearing questionable clothing.
Nonetheless, this raises an interesting question: does racial profiling actually have merit? I’m not encouraging my cowardly judgemental and somewhat racist views, but I can comprehend why someone might feel compelled to clutch their bag a little tighter when in the company of blacks or other minorities.
Racial profiling is a serious problem, one of which we are all aware. Everyone knows someone who has been unjustly confronted by the police based solely on their race. However, I sometimes wonder if, in a world filled with corruption and inequality, it would not be easier to change the way we act and think instead of changing the way society acts and thinks.
Let’s face it, it’s too late to try and get people to realise that if you wear baggy pants, loose clothes, and are of a darker skin tone that you are not a dealer or a hoodlum. The same goes for the Italian community; try wearing Ed Hardy, deep v-necks, and saying “bro” every five seconds and not have people think that you’re a complete stereotypical D-bag. The media has done nothing but emphasize these stereotypes, to the point where we actually believe them. However, maybe if you do not want people to think that you have a baby mama to support, a drug addiction to fuel, and Jacob the jeweller bills to pay, then you shouldn’t wear obvious gang clothes.
I’m always amazed at the amount of students, black and white, who still wear baggy clothes, circa early 2000s. Get with the program; if everyone looked somewhat similar or was not as easy to detect, meaning they looked decent, then we could honestly see if racial profiling is at play. Because not much would set us apart visually, therefore we could see if the police truthfully target based on race or actual preconceived notions.
Of course, it’s easy for a police officer to see different groups of people and migrate to the minorities, that’s what the cop has been taught, that’s what we’ve all been taught. Sadly, the majority of the time the person pulled over is in the wrong. Therefore, we all need to evaluate the way we present ourselves and the message that we’re sending to others. Every aspect of you defines how people think and react to you. As for racial profiling, let’s not give the already corrupt police officers of Montreal more reasons to judge and treat us poorly.