Truck News


Clear Shot: Racism Makes for Bad Business

Racial profiling isn't just something the cops have to worry about.Just ask the owners of several trucking schools in Ontario, who all attest to the fact it's harder for their Middle Eastern students ...

Racial profiling isn’t just something the cops have to worry about.

Just ask the owners of several trucking schools in Ontario, who all attest to the fact it’s harder for their Middle Eastern students to get jobs since 9/11.

Just ask trucker David Monk, who stumbled into the national media spotlight after reporters learned he alerted the RCMP to what he believed were the suspect motives of fellow truck driving student Jamal Akkal – the guy who was later arrested in Israel on suspicion of being recruited by Hamas to conduct attacks in the U.S. and Canada.

Just ask any company moving freight across the border.

Clearly, racial profiling is an issue for the trucking industry.

Some would argue it’s not a moral one. These people would say it’s a question of business – that if they choose not to hire a driver who looks, or sounds, or has a name that’s Middle Eastern, it’s just a business decision. That the prime directive of a company is to make money and make it fast, even if it means a little racism on the side.

Some would say that’s not even racism; it’s just “the reality of day-to-day business.”

Some would even say that they would hire Middle Easterners, if only they felt they would be allowed across the border without a hassle.

But I ask you: These people are anticipating rejection at the border based on what? It’s the old tree falling in the forest question.

If the driver is qualified, has no criminal record and is a Canadian citizen and has the papers to show for it, there is no logical reason that he or she would be turned back at the border.

So if they never get hired – how does anyone know if they’ll be turned back?

Sure, some might say, but it’s not up to me, it’s the border guards who are doing the discriminating.

But that’s assuming every U.S. border crossing guard is a foaming-at-the-mouth racist. Indeed, images of red-in-the-face U.S. “Bubbas” abound in Canada.

But the truth is, these images are just as incorrect as the presumption that all Middle Eastern truck drivers are wild-eyed terrorists intent on murdering our families. (And just as incorrect, by the way, as the presumption that trucks and truckers are a danger to other motorists.)

The point being, assumptions never make for good business.

Good business is hiring drivers with clean records, adequate documentation and excellent training, if not experience.

Good business is providing them with further in-house training programs that will increase their skills and desirability in the eyes of your insurers.

Good business is hiring from a large pool of available, eager and willing resources, with myriad talents and a diverse knowledge base that can add value to your company, instead of the ever-shrinking resource that is the aging white Canadian male, rapidly headed toward retirement age, the source of the so-called “driver shortage.”

Good business leaves racism to the racists.

– Ingrid Phaneuf can be reached at 416-442-2091 or

Print this page

Have your say:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *