Carding a systemic approach to branding our kids

By Admin Wednesday March 26 2014 in Opinion
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Dear editor:


First, thanks for the extensive coverage of this issue. Both the recent editorial and Patrick Hunter’s piece (March 20, 2014) were most informative. Hopefully, by keeping the community informed, more voices will be raised in opposition to this racist, discriminatory practice which is condoned by the Toronto Police Services Board.


We must not be fooled by recent efforts of the board to disguise this practice as “street checks”. Indeed, what are they checking for – if not to gather information which could be used against our youth? No amount of tinkering with this discriminatory practice will prevent the police from harassing the men in our community, especially our youth.


As Dr. Munyonzwe Hamalengwa has said “the practice will continue in another form under another name”.


As brilliant as Frank Addario may be, and perhaps well meaning, I find some of his recommendations quite insulting. He would have us believe the police will – under this policy if adopted – be required to inform citizens of their right to walk away when stopped, instead of giving information to the police. Really? Aren’t police required to inform citizens of that right now? (I heard Chief Bill Blair, in a cavalier manner, making this same argument during a T.V. interview and was amazed).


As well, police will be required to “use respectful language, tone and demeanor” during stops. And if they don’t, Mr. Addario?


Which planet are these people living on?


For me, what this simplistic approach demonstrates is a profound lack of understanding of the experiences of Black people when in contact with police officers – most police officers and the broader judicial system.


And here the statement of Neely Fuller, Jr. comes to mind: “If you do not understand White Supremacy (Racism) – what it is and how it works – everything else that you understand, will only confuse you.”


Carding is a systemic approach of branding our children and grandchildren criminals. When stopped and carded, they are forever known to police or, for as long as their personal information is kept on file. By the time the information is removed, currently seven years or five years as is now being suggested, irreparable harm has been done and the destruction of Black males continues, albeit subtly.


Lest we forget, for the most part, we are talking about Black youth who have not committed or even witnessed a crime – stopped solely because of the colour of their skin and often where they live.


Carding must end. We must oppose this racist practice in the courts, on the streets and with the pen. We must assist our children to assert their rights.

June Veecock

Markham, Ontario

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