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In their article "Racism versus Professionalism: Claims and Counterclaims about Racial Profiling" (2009), Vic Satzewich and William Shaffir offer a different perspective on the nature of racial profiling in Canada. In doing so, they critique particularly the work of Frances Henry and Carol Tator, David Tanovich, Scot Wortley and other scholars. They also appear to be critiquing qualitative studies that largely rely on the reported experiences of victims who have encountered racial profiling and believe that it exists and is prevalent in policing. These authors believe that the emphasis should be put on the subculture of policing. The importance of this subculture has long been recognized in the sociological literature; and Henry and Tator (2006) acknowledge the "culture of policing" as a crucial element in the dynamic of racial profiling and thus include a substantial chapter on this subject in their book, Racial Profiling in Canada: Challenging the Myth of "A Few Bad Apples" (92-112). What is often glossed over, however, in studies of police culture is that that culture provides a fertile environment for racism. For example, Harris (2002) argues that the training that police receive encourages stereotypical thinking about particular racial and cultural groups and leads to the belief that "skin colour is a valid indicator of a greater propensity to commit crime" (11). Through the socialization process, racial biases become fixed ideas and images that are later incorporated into police-department norms. All of this reinforces pre-existing fissures based on race (Harris 2002: 13). Crank (1997: 207) suggests that "cultural racism in a police organization is a self-fulfilling phenomenon that can neither be vanquished, perhaps not even contained."
We believe that Satzewich and Shaffir (2009) make a contribution to the literature by presenting their own research data based on a study of Hamilton police officers examining how their subculture is being influenced by the demands of policing in multicultural society. They also demonstrate how, today, that police subculture has evolved three discourses with which to deflect allegations of racial profiling. These are the discourse of the intolerance of intolerance, the discourse of multiculturalism, and the discourse of blaming the victim.
However, we take issue with some of the points either made or implied in this article. In the first instance, Henry and Tator's work is considered by the authors as far too broad to explain racism or racial profiling either through their concept of democratic racism or through their analysis of the public discourses surrounding it. Their criticism is largely based on the theory's alleged inability to distinguish the intent or motivation of the perpetrators of racism. Henry and Tator (2006) and many other scholars (Tanovich 2006; Chan and Mirchandani 2002; Jiwani, 2002) subscribe to the view that racism/racial profiling is to be judged primarily by its consequences in creating inequality for certain groups. For Satzewich and Shaffir (2009), however, racism/ racial profiling cannot be understood without examining the motivations and intent behind racist actions: "It is important to know whether …