All of us have gone through some sort of victimization whether we know about it or not. However some groups are more vulnerable to social injustice which leads them to the path of offending. Everyone is fighting similar battles in other jurisdictions, such as the battle for women’s right, Aboriginal peoples, LGBT group are all shown in the media. Researchers have observed for a very long time that rates of victimization and offense rates are by far tied in with race and ethnicity. Being targeted at an early age because of race and ethnicity, as injustice factors can change the perspectives of a youth. There are many acts and rights that are protecting individuals from being mistreated. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms brought huge change to Canada in 1982; it was so huge that the impact was revolutionary. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms is an act that gives Canadians a better understanding on their rights. Although the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is present, many groups are still targeted. Afro-Canadian youths are a group in particular who receive many kinds of injustice. Race and ethnicity being factors in injustice always tend to cross each other, and it arises in some fashion or form in everybody’s live. African people have been mistreated for many years even when we look back into the days of slavery. For that reason, Africans came to Canada to find freedom and be treated equally. However, little did Afro-Canadians know that they were still viewed differently in certain ways in society’s perspective.
Many people understand that when a person mind is still young, it is open to ideas and is always willing to learn. Youths ages are ranged from 15 to 24 years and the transition to adulthood depends on factors such as schooling levels, residence, and socio-economic status. Young people represent a lot of the population for example in 2013 youths that ranged from 15-24 years of age represented 12.9% of Canada’s population (Stats Can, 2013). 12.9% is a huge number considering the fact that most youths would be dependent on their parents. In 2006 47 percent of Toronto’s population reported to be visible minority. Out of the 47% Afro-Canadians were 11.4 percent of Toronto’s population (Toronto, 2006). A factor that can make a youth change right away is the way they are being parented. If a youth isn’t treated fairly and the parents cannot support their kid, they are then sent to foster homes or some may even run away. When youths run away they tend to look for someone caring and someone that they can rely on as it becomes resourceful once a youth turns homeless. Not having someone you can rely on at home , makes them want to start or be part of a new home, thus leading to criminal activity such as gang involvement (Astwood Strategy Corporation, 2004). Based on data that was collected by Astwood Strategy Corporation (2004) Ontario has 216 youth gangs with 3320 members involved. Given this data Ontario has the most youth gangs compared to all the other provinces across Canada. Many gangs in Canada were made up of Afro-Canadian males (25%) ( (; many of these gangs all resided in low income housing complexes This shows us that they are forced into segregated areas because of their income status (Gatti, U., Tremblay, R. E., Vitaro, F. and McDuff, P, 2005).
Turning homeless or even being born homeless can have unbelievable effects on a youth. Previously ‘Squeegeeing’ was a rewarding way for youths to be more resourceful so they wouldn’t join gangs (Graham, 2010). However, years passed and ‘squeegeeing’ became illegal. Even though years did pass and squeegeeing became illegal, racism still hasn’t left the minds of a few people. Going back into history Africans went through a horrible process of slavery. Thus leading Martin Luther King,Jr. humanitarian leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movements to stand up for racial segregation against African-Americans. Many have not realized that racism occurs in areas least expected such as schools and even work places. Racism in school becomes a barrier for the youth to expand his/her learning. The teachers play a huge role in enforcing that no racist remarks should be said. The BLAC report (1987-1992) indicates that Africans are accounted for 16 to 21 percent of all the suspensions in Halifax (Canadian Race, 1999). When students at school are treated with disrespect, this then effects their self-esteem and are not motivated to go to school here on after. Having a bad record with attendance in school gives students an option of going to ‘Alternative School’ to meet their requirements. Alternative schools are schools that have different methods of approach in teaching and learning. In Ontario there is a school called ‘Africentric Alternative School’, alternative schools are supposed to be open to whoever needs alternate learning. By putting an ethnicity in front of the alternative schools name it segregates the Afro-Canadian people from other ethnicities. This is what segregation is like, this is what Martin Luther King. Jr wanted to get rid of.
Racism doesn’t have to only occur in school it also occur outside or even in public places. Being a youth has its ups and downs because there’s only so much you can understand at a specific age and then once you get older you understand more. This makes people realize that once in their lifetime they have been victimized. Much of the media covers up a lot of injustice with Afro-Canadian youths. An officer of the law, someone who enforces the law and is supposed to protect themselves and others tend to get involved with racism and stereotyping. There are many police officers in Canada from which some maybe good but others maybe deviant. Canada is not the only country that has to deal with such situations; police officers have a lot of power which they do exert leaving many people with the only option of listening to the officer. Caucasians receive better treatment from officers then Afro-Canadians do, it makes the Afro-Canadians more suspicious of what the police are always up to (Anderson, 1994). There have been many cases where innocent Afro-Canadians have been wrongfully convicted or detained. When people have to go through such situations they tend to develop negative perceptions of the police (Anderson, 1994). There have been numerous sightings of Afro-Canadian males and females standing outside their car after being pulled over yelling the words ‘racial profiling’. Racial profiling is being judged based on your race, and or skin complexion, for example someone saying the words ‘because I am Black or because I am brown’ right after being pulled over by a police officer.
Astwood Strategy Corporation. 2002 Canadian Police Survey on Youth Gangs. Ottawa: Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada, 2004.
Mellor, B., MacRae, L., Pauls, M., & Hornick, J. P. (n.d.). Youth Gangs in Canada: A Preliminary Review of Programs and Services.UCalgary. Retrieved March 20, 2014, from http://people.ucalgary.ca/~crilf/publications/Youth_Gang_Report.pdf
Mathews, F. (1993). Youth Gangs on Youth Gangs. Ottawa, ON: Solicitor General of
Mathews, F. (2004). Youth Gangs. In J.A. Winterdyk (Ed.), Issues and Perspectives on
Young Offenders in Canada (pp. 203-223). Toronto, ON: Nelson.
Anderson, E. (n.d.). Police and the Black Male.NCJRS Abstract. Retrieved March 23, 2014, from https://www.ncjrs.gov/App/Publications/abstract.aspx?ID=151017