Ed Kashi’s photographic and video project on racial profiling was featured in VII‘s December Newsletter. A series of portraits for Open Society Foundations (OSF) tells the stories of victims of racial profiling by European authorities. Stop-and-Search programs, and on the spot ID checks unjustly target immigrants and minorities.
“These images and testimonies explore police profiling in three European countries: The Netherlands, France, and the United Kingdom. Through portraits and interviews, Ed Kashi examines the impact felt by immigrants and minorities who must contend with the stigma, legal pressures and exclusion from society that these practices cause for victims of such policies and behavior.”
This examination of racial profiling brings home in a very personal way the effects of discriminatory police action.
Photo©2012 Ed Kashi/VII – “I clearly remember a racial discriminatory identity check that occurred in April 2008 at the beginning of my term in office…I received a card as an elected official, the blue, white and red – standing for freedom, equality and fraternity…And then poof! When you experience this type of check, it’s as if you are continually reminded that due to your face, your skin color, your facial features that you are not really from here. You realize that you belong to the Republic, you live in the Republic, but you aren’t actually a full citizen.” – Adji Ahoudian, elected official, Paris, France.
Photo©2012 Ed Kashi/VII – “I was stopped 100 yards from my house as I was leaving in my car for work. The check lasted half an hour. I told them I would be late for my factory job and the least they could do was write a note to explain my tardiness. They told me, ‘Your work can call the police station’…In a factory, when you work 8-hour shifts around the clock, the team needs to rotate and a half hour late is a real problem…Some people were suspicious and said, ‘If the cops come to his home checking him like that, he must be doing stuff.’ It made me feel ashamed.” – Moradel Ruddy, Rhone-Alps, France.
Photo©2012 Ed Kashi/VII – “Once I take off my uniform I become a citizen…and get stopped by my colleagues. I’ve been approached in a really impertinent, unfriendly way, and that has an effect on me. And what went through my head at that moment was that whether I’m a policeman or not, I’m still a person. You’re supposed to treat other people as humans. It doesn’t take much effort to take me seriously and to check that registration because after all, it’s there, in black and white. But even then, you don’t believe me. And then I thought, ‘Why do I have to prove myself again?’ It really affects you. You’re not taken seriously.” – Sidyney, Police Chief Inspector, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Photo©2012 Ed Kashi/VII – “The reason why I give them a hard time about showing my ID is because it happens so often…I actually don’t feel like the police are protecting me. I’m not really sure. If I had a problem, would I go to the police? I don’t know.” – Anass, 18, Rotterdam, Netherlands.
View more images and testimonies on VII Featured Stories and the OSF slideshow “Equality Under Pressure: A Portrait Series.” You can also watch the OSF video interview on Youtube.