Black youth’s interactions and experiences with police in southern Alberta

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Turay, Ibrahim
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Arts and Science
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Dept. of Women and Gender Studies
This project examines whether Black youth experience differential treatment during their interactions with police in Southern Alberta, how those experiences might differ from those of others residing in larger, more prominent Canadian or United States (U.S.) cities, and the extent to which those experiences shape their sense of belonging in Canada, Alberta, their cities of residence, and their Black communities. Using a Critical Race Mixed Methodology consisting of an online perception survey and interviews, I created 37 cases that I analyzed in NVivo, using an intersectional Counter-Storytelling framework. Of the 46 Black youth aged 16-30 that participated in this study, those who identified as women, who were also Black youth from Lethbridge, were more likely to experience subtle forms of police violence, ranging from dismissiveness to harassment and intimidation. In contrast, participants from Calgary who predominantly identified as men were more likely to experience physical and hostile police violence, ranging from handcuffing to having firearms aimed at them. As a result, I found that anti-Black police violence is as much a problem in Southern Alberta as in larger cities like Toronto or Ottawa, Ontario. However, this study revealed that covert police violence happened more to the participants and significantly impacted them. This is due primarily to the fact that these forms of violence are hard to challenge. This study, therefore, takes an intersectional approach to state violence at the hands of police by amplifying the voices of Black youth in Southern Alberta who have experienced both covert and overt forms of police violence. This approach challenges dominant narratives that suggest that only overt forms of state violence against Black people count as violence and suggests that police violence is a gendered phenomenon that impacts people differently depending on their location at the intersection of perceived (by police) and actual (self-identification of participants) gender, age, sexuality, economic status, religious beliefs, and race.
Black youth , Policing , Police violence , State violence , Southern Alberta