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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

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Public schools preserve inequality for African-Canadians

"Public school education in Canada is not race-neutral. It expresses a cultural specificity, rooted in British legacies. It has always had race as a classifying theme, and its structure is centred in customs and traditions that have limited utility for black learners. Far from being the 'great equalizer,' in many respects schools have served to preserve inequality."

"As an adult educator and as an anti-racism educator, having worked with black youth for over 20 years, I am utterly convinced that the public school system does not respond well to the needs of black learners. Education integration has not resulted in equitable outcomes. Black learners and parents continue to express feelings of alienation in their schools."

(Thanks to Charlene for this.)


DaProkah said...

Hmpf. That's common knowledge among black folk. The classic example is the one-apge-on-Africa in my history book. Another example that was a little more shocking a list of war inventions I recieved covering both world wars. The gas mask and anti-aircraft gun were left out! These were significant inventions that were not on the list. I suppose the pigment of teh inventor's skin had to do with it. mm mm mm..

Anonymous said...

"Public school education in Canada is not race-neutral."
That is an interesting statement considering that Chinese and Indians are the ones who do the best in school. They are also over-represented at Canadian and US Universities in science and engineering faculties. From what I have observed, the education system is only biased against those who don't want to learn.

Minister Faust said...

To Anonymous: I suggest you check out the links below under "Countering Racial Supremacy" and "'White Supremacy' Does Not Mean 'Nazi.'

Unless you're simply being argumentative and have no interest in seeing that there's much to this issue that your comments don't address, you'll find that the idea that there are no racial barriers against people of Afrikan and indigenous descent is a fallacy.

Jonathan Kozol makes this point quite abundantly regarding racial barriers to education funding in the US; check out that discussion at "Jonathan Kozol on Shame of the Nation" (http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=5). He says little about cultural barriers and the subconscious and deliberate racial exclusion, but his central point stands.

It's all too easy to say that because (some) Asians find success in the US and Canada, indigenous and Afrikan peoples should simply do the same. For most Afrikans, the reasons for being on this continent differ drastically from those of the Asians and the Europeans, and so much so in substance that one should realise there is no comparison.

It's not particularly helpful to have this discussion in the Comments section; read the links. If you're serious, you'll see there's more than you've suggested. If not....

And assuming you stand by your remarks, please sign your name to them next time.

Minister Faust said...

By "links below," I *meant* to say, "links on the sidebar of the Bro-Log.

Minister Faust said...

Finally, I should point out that as a teacher in the public system since 1994, and as one who has studied and practiced anti-racist education for even longer, I can state unequivocally:

a) that racial barriers (conscious and unconscious, in the system and in the students) exist,

b) that there's such extensive proof of this as studied by hundreds of scholars and as published in thousands of articles and books that such a facile dismissal of the notion is really quite disrespectful to those who suffer,

c) generally, it's those who are not teachers, have no degrees in education and have little theoretical or practical understanding of (or an ideological contempt for) anti-racist work, who are quickest to dismiss the serious of this issue, and

d) there *are* solutions, but these solutions can only be implemented by those who want to acknowledge and solve the problem, rather than blaming the people who disproportionately suffer unemployment, under-employment, under-pay and other forms of discrimination as compared to White peers EVEN WHEN THEY HAVE EQUIVALENT OR SUPERIOR EDUCATIONAL STANDING (see especially "Unequal Access: A report card on racism" at http://www.ccsd.ca/perception/243/racism.htm).

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the response, and I agree that this not a good place to have a discussion. Let me just add that I do think that racism, nationalism, and religious intolerance are great evils, however I KNOW that Canada is the least racist and most tolerant country in the world (but by no means perfect). I have read the links on the blog, along with other material that claims otherwise, and have decided to come to my own conclusions. I think almost everyone mostly cares only about their own group and fights for their interests.