York authors look at racial profiling in new book

A new book on the controversial issue of racial profiling argues that Julian Fantino, the newly appointed commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police, vehemently denied racism existed within the Toronto police force, despite contrary evidence, and did little to address the issue, reported the Toronto Star Oct. 18. The book, Racial Profiling in Canada: Challenging the Myth of A ‘Few Bad Apples,’ was written by Toronto authors and York faculty members Carol Tator, professor of anthropology in York’s Faculty of Arts, and Frances Henry, York professor emerita. The book is to be launched Oct. 19 at Toronto’s Centre for Social Innovation.

“It is very difficult for white people to imagine what everyday racism looks like, feels like, how it is experienced and what it does to the people who experience it,” Tator said during an interview with Henry. “What we’re hoping to do is to sort of fill in those blank spaces for people, to help them understand what it must be like to be stopped 15 or 20 times in a year just walking down the street, riding your bicycle or going into a mall. And not only being stopped, but also harassed, degraded or even beaten up.”

But the theory of a few bad apples means there’s nothing wrong with the overall system, said Henry, a retired anthropology professor from York University. “We’re arguing the reverse (in this book),” she said. “There’s an inability to recognize that systemic change is important and necessary.” One of the toughest parts in fighting racial profiling, the authors say, is a police culture that reinforce stereotypes and preconceived assumptions. “There is huge resistance to change,” said Tator.

Gotta sing, act and dance

Garth Drabinsky is back in business again – show business, that is – and this time, he’s going into television, reported the Toronto Star Oct. 18. The former movie mogul and stage impresario will officially announce his plans for a new CBC series called “Triple Sensation”, set to hit the airwaves in the fall of 2007. The show is focused on what Drabinsky calls “a national search for young Canadians who share a passion for the performing arts and are blessed with a combination of talents in the disciplines of acting, singing and dance.”

The host will be York alumnus Andrew Craig (BFA ‘93), best known as the host of CBC Radio Two’s concert program “In Performance”. “I picked Andrew not just because of his intelligence and charm and ease with the camera, but because he’s an artist as well,” said Drabinsky. “He knows what these kids will be going through. He’s been part of the process, he’s known the pain of disappointment and the joy of success. He won’t be a detached observer.”

The arts and education community of Canada seems solidly behind Drabinsky’s idea, wrote the Star. Phillip Silver, dean of York’s Faculty of Fine Arts, applauds the fact that this series “will be showcasing Canada’s promising young talent while telling the inside story of what it takes to achieve those wonderful performances we enjoy in the theatre.”

Auditions for Pozzebon film scheduled for Sunday

Auditions for a second film to be shot in Sault Ste. Marie this autumn take place Sunday, reported the Sault Star Oct. 18. Good Guys is a dark comedy/drama directed by Chris Pozzebon, a film student at York University. Fellow film student Chris Nash is expected to wrap up filming of his supernatural film noir, Reload, next week, wrote the Star, which featured him in a story Oct. 10.

On air

  • Moshe Milevsky, finance professor in York’s Schulich School of Business, spoke about his research into how people decide on mortgages, on CBC Radio (Sudbury) Oct. 16.