In the past, I would of said it is wrong for the Toronto District School Board to open a black focus school. There has been a passionate debate that I believe is a hindrance. The truth is, 40% of black teens are dropping out of school in the Toronto area. Also, only 5.2% of the teachers in the greater Toronto area are black. Only 9.6% of the principals are black.The question is why are a disproportionate number of black kids not completing their education? Let’s be real and honest here, the attitudes of some racists are that black kids are stupid, lazy, and lacking discipline.
It is obvious to me the issues some black children are encountering go deeper and deal with the psychological such as alienation, hopelessness, worthlessness, and despair. Next, people will whisper quietly of course that “the Asians and the white kids are adjusting and not having problems so why are some black kids struggling?” The covert racists will use this rationalization as an excuse to maintain the state sponsored racist curriculum that is detrimental to black youth.
The answer is obvious different groups are treated differently by the system. In the city of Toronto, black Canadians we have consistently been branded as the “out-group” and categorized as “the other”.
Toronto has a racial hierarchy, and in this racist hierarchy blacks are demonized consistently in the Canadian media and society compared to Asians. The editors, managing editors, editor in chiefs of Canadian newspapers are whites and Asians.
Pick up a Canadian newspaper you will notice no black people in high power media positions. I don’t think this is just a coincidence either. The racism is institutionalized. If more blacks were in power positions in the Canadian media the Canadian media would be run very differently then the lax journalism that currently takes place.
The Canadian media has a propensity to publishing in print or broadcasting on television and radio racist anti black pieces in order to create a pathology about us. Also, notice there are Asians that work in top media positions in Canada but blacks are excluded. Do you even have to wonder why? Race is socially constructed, and when a group of people are bashed consistently it can have a negative psychological effect on some members of a community.
Black lesbian Canadian feminist Dionne Brand, wrote a book about the racist attitudes of the Canadian media in her groundbreaking 2001 book “A Map To The Door Of No Return”. Please, I urge you go to the public library and read Ms. Brand’s excellent book about the ways in which the Canadian media and culture pathologize and demonize black folks. Also, read Dr. Joseph Mensah’s wonderful book “Black Canadians” Dr. Mensah provides statistical evidence with a strong polemical message about the entrenched racism against black Canadians. Both books are available at your local public library.I am sure since its black history month both books will be on “display”.
Dionne Brand and Joseph Mensah’s books didn’t receive a lot of ink in the Canadian press because Canada has this pretentious image of being less racist then America. The truth is, Americans are more real about racism then Canadians. Canada is a place where covert racism thrives and grows like a cancer. Some of these kids may even be depressed they don’t feel the material they are studying is engaging or interesting. When kids are interested in something the passion will emerge and they will try. When children have teachers that are anti racist that actually care about black kids they can achieve. However, the Toronto District School Board has a history of being racist against the Toronto black community and this is a fact.
However, I know from personal experience with the Toronto District School Board the course work is boring and anti black. Black kids are being alienated by racist teachers, racist principals, a system that is a form of systematic racism. I don’t understand the eruption of anger here there is only going to be one black focus school opening in the city in September 2009.
My question is where the hell does the segregation argument emerge from? The term “segregation” is an explosive word. However, aren’t black kids being segregated and alienated anyway by a racist Toronto education system that is anti black? Why is there such an imbalance in the number of black teachers teaching in the greater Toronto area? Teachers also have their own racist prejudices and biases against the black community. I remember when I was a kid back in the early 1990s. I had several battles with the racist teachers that wanted to hold me back because I am black.
Also, another important issue the media ignores is about the racist teachers that keep on discriminating against black kids. It is well known in Toronto that black students are treated differently then the whites and the Asians. In the 1990s, in the city of Brampton, which is a suburb of Toronto there was a teacher that was fired in the year 1993 he was a part of the Ku Klux Klan. Isn’t that scary the Peel District School Board didn’t even do a background check? The Peel District School Board allowed a member of the Ku Klux Klan to teach impressionable children.
However, I now understand this new school for black students that will open in September 2009 is so important. The bottom line is some black children are simply slipping through the cracks and it has taken the Toronto Board of Education this long to realize something needs to be done. I think one school is not the solution but a step in the right direction. It is obvious to me that the hiring practices of the Toronto District School Board needs to change they need to hire more black teachers.
The curriculum also needs to change immediately! Why should black children be forced and subjected to reading racist anti black books such as Harper Lee’s garbage white savior novel “To Kill A Mockingbird” or study just European history? Why can’t black kids learn about the history of the African Diaspora? There needs to be more diversity in the course material to engage and interest black kids.
Some people are getting all emotional but this is only one school so the vast majority of black children in the greater Toronto area still will have to attend regular school. I just hope the Toronto District School Board wakes up and realizes this is just a band aid solution. The real culprit is their apathetic attitude to the concerns of the black community. Why should black kids be subjected to reading Shakespeare? Who cares about Shakespeare? Why can’t black kids read about Canadian writers of colour such as Makeda Silvera or Evelyn Lau?