The residential school system is a Canadian phenomenon that took place from the late 19th century to the late 20th century. As part of this educational program, the indigenous Indian population was subjected to forced cultural correction. Children were deprived of an upbringing that would correspond to their racial and cultural identity and labeled as contrary to Christian values. The task of residential education was to directly erase the cultural uniqueness of the indigenous population and its transformation and westernization (Hanson et al., 2020). This school system embodies systemic racism, that is, the rejection of another national culture at the level of a state institution and national policy. Only recently has the shocking scale of psychological, physical, and sexual abuse perpetrated against indigenous children in Canadian schools come to light (The Fifth Estate, 2019). The task of the Canadian schools was not to adopt the Indians to Western realities but to destroy the unique national traits.
At the level of the state apparatus, such a chauvinistic attitude is much more dangerous than the prejudices professed by a group of individuals. The state has the right to impose power and a single order, positioning it as the only correct one. Thus, the personality and identity of the national minority suffer much more as violence against the national minority is institutionalized. Such a cultural position can have much more serious damage than the actions of a single individual because, due to the scale of the phenomenon and the number of levers of power, an entire national identity can be exterminated from cultural memory – something that one person cannot do. A state in which systemic racism is manifested divides the population into friends and foes, those who are ready to accept the values of the dominant nation and those whom this nation has the right to consider enemies. Citizens may simply subconsciously be afraid to show empathy for other nations, worrying that their value system will be condemned by the majority and will be perceived as tantamount to criminal, undesirable for the state.
Manifestations of systemic racism are most difficult to recognize by the police precisely because they are the executive force that expresses these manifestations of the state that are difficult to eradicate. It is within the police service that it is easiest to succumb to prejudices and rash decisions, as well as the unfair and excessive use of force. Some police officers may consider themselves privileged to make the law, which is an attitude very similar to the concept of white supremacy. In addition to performing their regular service, every police officer is required to undergo periodic psychological counseling as well as training in tolerance and cultural diversity. This will help to understand systemic racism as a historical relic that can and must be stepped over.
As a practice to overcome the bitter experience of systemic corruption in policing, police services are required to introduce constant monitoring of the psychological and moral state of officers. This seems necessary in order to avoid the penetration and spread of colonial racist ideological attitudes into the collective consciousness of the servants of the law. Special training and seminars should be mandatory for every officer and reach any region of Canada, regardless of location, even through the Web. It also makes sense to make a cultural and national diversification of the police personnel, in particular, to recruit representatives of the indigenous population. It is in this way that direct cooperation and interaction could dissolve the prejudices, the remnants of which have poisoned interethnic interaction in the country to this day.
Hanson, E., Gamez, D., & Manuel, A. (2020). The Residential School System. Indigenous Foundations. Web.
The Fifth Estate. (2019). Crimes against children at residential school: The truth of St. Anne’s. [Video]. YouTube. Web.