A black Canadian would like to send the message that racial profiling isn't limited to just the United States.
Louizandre Dauphin, a resident of Bathurst in New Brunswick, Canada, wrote on Instagram about a week ago that he was under some stress in his personal life. To get away, he decided to head to Stonehaven Wharf—a popular parking lot for fishing boats—to read some books by Timothy Keller and C.S. Lewis while flanked by the comforting sound of the waves and the rain.
After a few hours at the shore, Dauphin decided to start heading back to his apartment. While driving, he noticed that a RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) cruiser passed him going in the opposite direction. About 10 minutes later, he saw that the same cruiser tailing him at a high speed. Instinctively, he checked to see that he wasn't accidentally speeding. Dauphin was driving 87 km/hr (54 mph) in a 100 km/hr (62 mph) zone. No violations there.
Dauphin says that he knew to pull over when the cruiser hit its lights. An officer then came over and asked a few basic questions concerning who Dauphin was and where he was going, before delving into the real reason Dauphin was pulled over: A citizen had reported Dauphin as a suspicious black man sitting in a car.
"He smiles and says that a few citizens in Janeville called the police because of a suspicious black man in a white car was parked at the Wharf for a couple hours. My response, "Really? I was just reading a book." He smiles, shrugs and replies, "Well, you know, it's a small town." and proceeds to ask me for my license," Dauphin wrote.
Some Serious Issues to Address
Dauphin would like to use the incident as an opportunity to stress that racial bias is everywhere while debunking the notion that no such issues exist among Canadians.
"Before any more Canadians get too comfortable on their high horses, let me share with you what happened to me about an hour ago," Dauphin began his Instagram post.
Dauphin also followed up his Instagram post with a more extensive Facebook post, which he felt was needed after his incident started to get widespread attention.
Dauphin expounded on a number of issues in the post, the first being that he had no intentions whatsoever of putting the RCMP in a negative light, noting that the officer who pulled him over was "professional, polite, and courteous."
"At no time did I feel threatened by him, and I believe wholeheartedly that he was simply doing his sworn duty," he said.
Dauphin then recounted that he had experienced many similar negative situations in the past, so his primary concern was why the police were called on him in the first place.
"I do not know the true motivations behind the individual who called the police to report my presence at the Stonehaven Wharf, but I struggle to understand why my actions of driving my vehicle to a public space, reading a book, and never once exiting my vehicle was cause for a level of suspicion which prompted this individual to call the police," he said. He added that he believes race was a contributing factor in the individual's decision.
Though Dauphin didn't want to single out any one region, he did want to promote the awareness that Canadians are in no way immune to such problems.
"On a large scale, many Canadians have managed to convince themselves that we are somehow immune or separate from these dividing lines which are cause for much conflict and hate around the world," he wrote.
"If there will ever be true inclusion and a true sense of welcome and belonging in this country, there are some serious issues we need to address and, if what occurred to me helps push that conversation forward, then I'm all for it," Dauphin concluded.