The Charter of Whiteness: Twenty-Five Years of Maintaining Racial Injustice in the Canadian Criminal Justice System
(2008) 40 Supreme Court Law Review 655-686
32 Pages Posted: 9 Jun 2008 Last revised: 5 Mar 2016
This article examines the impact of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms on systemic racism in the criminal justice system in Canada. The article's thesis is that while there is reason to be optimistic about the possibilities of future reform, the Charter has, to date, had very little impact on racial injustice in Canada. We continue to incarcerate Aboriginals and African Canadians at alarming rates, racial profiling at our borders and in our streets continues to flourish, and the federal government continues to pass legislation that will further entrench the problem. Of course, some might say that it is simply naive to think that a constitutional document can make a difference and so Part II (Part I is the Introduction) briefly addresses this larger philosophical question. In Part III, the article explores why it is not the Charter that is the problem, but rather those who apply and interpret it. Racial justice has not had a chance to grow over the last 25 years because there has been a significant failure of trial and appellate lawyers to engage in race talk in the courts and a failure of the judiciary to adopt appropriate critical race standards when invited to do so.
Keywords: Systemic Racism, Racial Profiling, Criminal Justice
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