Cheol Joon Baek
I can't say enough about the dangers of racial profiling, and I can't believe we allow this practice to continue in our city.
A disproportionate number of young people of colour, black- and brown-skinned in particular, are stopped by officers for no apparent reason. Police call this an "engagement" strategy.
But even those who cooperate become "known to police," forever doomed to police scrutiny and societal suspicion, our private information part of an ever-growing police database.
It's worse for those who decide not to cooperate. We're rewarded with the ever-present threat of police harassment, detainment and criminalization. This is the unfortunate Catch-22 many young people face. It's a form of racism by our public institutions, and should be illegal.
Successful cities are international cities where people are truly free and diversity is embraced. Toronto needs more than nice-sounding slogans, crafty language to market our wares or a story well told to make us feel better.
In a few years, more than 50 per cent of the population will be non-white, and this shouldn't be feared, as I believe it is in some quarters. To be focused on fears is to miss a tremendous opportunity to learn from each other.
If Toronto is to become what it can and must be, we have to be in this thing together. True freedom means respecting our differences.
As a start, then, let's commit ourselves to eliminating dangerous practices that sow mistrust and create second-class citizenship.
Cutty Duncan is a community organizer with the campaign to Stop Police Carding (stoppolicecarding.com).