'Racial profiling' at our border
Barry Artiste, Now Public Contributor
How unfair that these Rappers accuse Border Guards and Police of racial profiling. Gangsta's of all races with "Attitude" including White Rapper Enimen would get the same treatment. People using race as an excuse for their own failures, shows their own inadequacies as human beings. I would like to take the opportunity to invite the Lily White set to disprove their claims of racial profiling. So if anyone wish to disprove their claims, please proceed to the nearest border and intersperse your banter with the following words to the border guard.
Border Guard: Could you please turn down your stereo Sir. What is the purpose of your visit? Passports please Gentlemen!
You: Ah Hear Canada's got sum Fine Be' Yatches.
Border Guard: Pardon me? Are you bringing any guns into Canada Sir?
Rapper: Guns is fer wimps, Gats is where it is at!
Border Guard: Our records show you have a criminal record. (Weapons possession) Sir, I ask you again, could you please turn down your stereo!
You: I is innocent, the man is always puttin us down, say I hear you got some good dope in Canada. It's legal here right?
Border Guard; Sir, Please pull over to the inspection lane please.
You; Help, Ah is being oppressed and profiled by the man.
Oh yes, just one of many of my many experiences though the above is embellished in part by me, but is almost verbatim in a compliation of experiences rolled into one in my previous career. There was no profiling, just attitude by some who feel they need to maintain their "Rep" as bad boys, regardless (of their race) who they are talking to. A lot of Americans display a smugness attitude towards Canada and it shows it's colours at the border, Gangsta Rappers when with a group of homeboys in the backseat just have so much more of it to prove. Politeness goes a long way, Attuitude doesn't.
My Final Thought.
For the Record my 18 year old son is a Rap devotee and on occasion when he thought I was not within earshot, have listened to him while he is talking to his friends or on the internet doing his "Gangsta Speak". I shortly curtailed his "Warpoling Activities" much to his dismay in front of his Poser Gangsta friends as I know he as well as they are putting on an act for others in maintaining his "Rep", yet alone he is a good kid, just as I was at a time when my Dad tried to throw out my Black Sabbath and Van Halen Halen Records. I swore if I ever had a kid I would not interfere with his choice of music, dress and culture as long as it was within the law. These popular Gangsta Rappers are walking a fine line with the law and sometimes overstep it, as most do.
More than 30 celebrities have been subpoenaed to testify in a $900-million lawsuit against Canadian immigration officials by a Detroit gangsta rapper who is alleging racial profiling at the border.
Jerome Almon, a rapper with The BlakkAttakk, the group responsible for songs such as "On Ya Neez
B----" and "How Stella Got My Backhand," filed the suit in Michigan's U.S. district court earlier this year.
This week, 37 witnesses -- from rap stars and U.S. celebrities to Canadian federal ministers -- were ordered to appear in court Sept. 22. to testify about their treatment by Canadian authorities. Among the witnesses are hip-hop icons Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg, DMX, Diddy, 50 Cent and Eminem.
A suit by Detroit rapper Jerome Almon, above, fingers Canadian border officials for racial profiling.View Larger Image View Larger Image
A suit by Detroit rapper Jerome Almon, above, fingers Canadian border officials for racial profiling.
They will be asked to testify alongside Colin Powell, Oprah Winfrey, Martha Stewart, Mick Jagger, Jenna Jameson, Condoleeza Rice, Heidi Fleiss, Kobe Bryant, Paris Hilton, Keith Richards, Spike Lee, Tom Sizemore and former Taliban officials Mohammed Hassan and Abdul Hanifi.
Former ministers of citizenship and immigration Judy Sgro and Dennis Coderre, retired CCRA minister Elinor Caplan and MP Belinda Stronach were also called, as were the president of Canadian Border Services Agency Alain Joliecour, Toronto Mayor David Miller, former head of the Ontario Human Rights Commission Keith Norton, and Selwyn Pieters, a Toronto lawyer representing racial minorities in human-rights cases.
The suit "seeks redress from Canadian government officials who have violated [Almon's] right to traverse the Canadian border without being repeatedly subjected to unwarranted, protracted and highly punitive detentions and interrogations as well as outright refusals to allow the plaintiff to enter."
The 41-year-old rapper, known as Slikkfordays, told The Province that "Paris Hilton and Martha Stuart [sic] and Tom Sizemore are the most important witnesses. Those three were chosen because all have criminal convictions and two have done prison time and Paris Hilton has done jail time, but all three entered Canada with impunity."
Almon said the reason for their swift passage was simple: "They're white and they're not rappers."
He alleges systemic racism among border guards, detailing the slurs of several guards in the suit.
He claims he's been stopped, turned back or detained 117 times between 1998 and 2004 while travelling between Detroit and Toronto.
He said he's never been convicted of a criminal offence, but admits to being arrested twice.
Almon points to other incidents of rappers being stopped:
- In 2001 blues musician Wilson Pickett alleged he was strip-searched at the Ottawa airport.
- In January 2003 DMX was refused entry to Canada at Calgary's airport a week after he was arrested in the U.S. for dangerous driving and providing forged documents.
- Members of 50 Cent's G-Unit crew were stopped from performing in Vancouver in 2005.
White rappers have also been harassed. In 2000, Ontario Attorney-General Jim Flaherty tried to have Eminem stopped at the border before a Toronto concert, charging his hate-filled lyrics promoted violence against women.
Almon's group has yet to release an album (their first, Porno Stars, is due in October), and some see the suit as a publicity stunt. The CEO of MurderCap Records, Almon is seeking $900 million in damages.
Federal Canadian Border Services Agency spokesman Derek Mellon said in a statement: "Our officers are provided with cultural-awareness and diversity training with anti-racism components and do not discriminate according to race, nationality or religion."
Faith St. John of the B.C. region of CBSA said a person's religion or race wouldn't have an effect, nor would their status as a gangsta rapper.
"No, their career would not be a factor."
E-mail reporter Elaine O'Connor at email@example.com