A situation of racial profiling
This case describes a situation of racial profiling, which, according to a CBC news piece that draws from an Ontario Human Rights Commission report, Indigenous people report happens to them frequently in stores. Please read this report:
James earned his MBA at Concordia University at Montreal, Quebec. As a child, James was raised by his grandparents who taught him to be proud of his Inuk heritage. He grew up on the land and learned all the ways of his ancestors and about their rich cultural traditions. He enjoys and places importance on sharing these teachings with his own daughter, Nicola.
As his career progressed, James sought out and won the position of Executive Director for the Blackfoot Confederacy Corp. in Mohkinstis (the City of Calgary). He moved his young family to the nearby rural town of Crossfield, so Nicola could start grade five in a smaller community. Just before the first day of school, the family decided to go to the nearby shopping centre to buy school supplies and clothes. James and his wife Suzanne were not aware of the ongoing tensions and racist relationship that existed between some of the local townsfolk and certain members of the neighboring First Nations reserve.
Upon entering the store, James and his family began to be followed by a security guard. At first they thought that this was just a coincidence, so they continued on with their shopping. The security guard followed them uncomfortably closely and James heard the guard mutter, “Braids are for little girls.” James had grown his braid since he was a child1. This comment upset Nicola, and Suzanne said, “Let’s just get out of here.”
This entire situation angered James, so he abruptly turned around to confront the security guard and asked him why he was following him and his family around the store. The security guard’s response was that there had been an ongoing problem with shoplifting by the nearby Blackfoot people. This blatant generalization angered James, so he asked to speak to the store’s manager.
After a while, the store manager came and took the group aside into his office. James explained what he had just experienced, and that he had just moved to the community from Eastern Canada, that he couldn’t believe that his family had been followed in the store just because of their race, and that he would not tolerate anyone upsetting his family. The manager listened intently as James talked, nodding as he listened and asking a couple of questions to clarify his understanding of the situation that James was describing. After James explained what happened, the manager said, “I would be so angry if this happened to me. I am sorry that this happened in our store.” They continued chatting and the manager pointed out that he had grown up playing football with the neighboring boys from the Blackfoot Nation reserve.
1 For some information about Indigenous men and boys wearing braids, use this link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/indigenous/why-indigenous-boys-and-men-wear-braids-1.3463817
The manager again apologized to James, Suzanne, and Nicola, and assured them that this security guard would be required to enroll in a course at the local Bow Valley College campus where he would learn about racial profiling, stereotypes, and negative assumptions of Canada’s First Nations people.
The manager then offered these customers a 10% discount for their trouble.
Part A: Case study questions (35 marks)
Answer each of the following questions in approximately 100 words, unless a higher word count is recommended.
1. DeVito, Shimoni, and Clark (2016) contend that the nature of interpersonal communication has seven various characteristics (pp. 4-9). Select and describe one of these characteristics, and explain how the interaction between James and the store manager illustrates that characteristic. (5 marks).
2. James experienced and Nicola is experiencing enculturation, a concept DeVito et al. (2016) address on p.27. In your own words, define enculturation. Then, explain James’ or Nicola’s experience of enculturation, and how this influences their ethnic identity. (5 marks).
3. As a child, Nicola is developing her self-concept, which according to DeVito et al. (2016) is influenced by four sources (p.48). Select two of these sources, and describe how they are contributing to the development Nicola’s self-concept. Relate her experience in the department store to at least one of these sources. (6 marks)
4. On pp.59-66, DeVito et al. (2016) discuss impression formation.
a. What impression does the store security guard make of James and his family when they
enter the store? What impression formation process leads him to this impression?
Explain your answer. (3 marks)
b. How can the security guard increase the accuracy of his impression formation? Identify
two ways that DeVito et al. (2016) offer on pp.63-66 and explain specifically how these strategies can help the security guard. (6 marks)
5. The store manager listened effectively to James as James shared his experience in the store.
a. What two techniques of active listening did he use? (DeVito et al., 2016, p. 89). Give
examples. (4 marks)
b. Although perhaps not described in depth, he certainly used styles of listening effectively
(DeVito et al., 2016, pp. 82-90). Apart from active listening, what are two other styles of effective listening that you think he used? Explain how he would have used them in his interaction with James. (6 marks)