Sherene Razack calls for self-questioning and "ethical guidelines for listening. It is this commitment to listening and self-examination which Lee Maracle recommends as one way to start eradicating racism, particularly between women. White feminists, she says, need to consciously test their motives at all times, to question their actions and test their attitudes.
Returning the Gaze: Essays on Racism, Feminism & Politics // Review
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If the problem persists, please try again in a little while. Read preview. This disinvestment in Black youth has definite effects on their future opportunities as well as on their own sense of self-worth.
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The privileging of the lives and worthiness of white students demonstrates the ongoing societal devaluation of Black childhood. The racially differential treatment experienced by Black youth also demonstrates a concerted lack of empathy for the feelings and dignity of Black students on the part of instructors. In addition to experiencing a lack of support and active streaming into lower tracks of education opportunities, Black students contend with erasure, which is itself arguably a form of violence. Both invisibility within curricula and the predominantly white demographic makeup of educators continue to negatively affect Black students.
Not only are Black students not seeing themselves reflected and celebrated in the curriculums but the lack of racial representation in school staff is also significant. Quebec, for example, continually misses the mark of its already too-low targets for racial diversity in the makeup of educators. Largely being taught by white instructors and, therefore, being denied positive Black role models within institutions of learning only further cements the lower status of Black students.
B lack students are not only treated as if they are inferior but they are also frequently treated as if they are a threat inside education settings. The presence of Black children and youth remains unwelcome and undesirable in many public schools, and their movements are closely monitored and subject to correction.
While racism and harassment from other students has long played a vital role in making Black youth and children feel unwanted in many Canadian public schools, school disciplinary policies have helped to cement the undesirability of Black students that is apparent within the education system. Black youth face heightened surveillance and disciplinary measures at massively, disproportionately high rates compared to their white peers. In addition to experiencing overtly racist treatment from teachers, Black students have likened their treatment by school officials to their experiences with the police.
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Montreal-based Black youth frequently report being treated by teachers as if they are in a gang solely because of their skin colour. School and security staff often dissuade these students from gathering in groups and subject them to heightened surveillance and frequent identity checks. In sum, Black youth are often treated as suspects instead of as the children they are, in the very place where children get socialized and educated.
Experiencing this typecasting and demonization is deeply harmful to Black youth who are still in their formative years. The assumption that Black youth are less innocent than white youth, and that their mere presence harbours danger, colours disciplinary practices in public schools across the country. While repressive school practices affect all youth, racialized youth are most heavily targeted. In a school in Durham, Ontario, an investigation by the provincial Human Rights Commission found that Black students in the Ontario school system were nearly eight times more likely to face discipline than white students.
Suspension and expulsion play important roles in banishing Black youth, particularly young Black males, from schools.
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Across many Canadian cities, youth of African descent are suspended or expelled at disproportionately high rates. In schools, as elsewhere in society, race plays an important role in the administration of punishment, even in the case of similar offences.
In Toronto, between and and from to , almost half of the students expelled from the Toronto District School Board were Black, and only 10 percent of those expelled were white students. Similarly, during the — school year, Black students in Toronto were three times more likely to be suspended than white students. Younger Black students have not been exempt from punitive treatment either, quite the opposite.
In the same school year, nearly half of all suspensions and 14 percent of expulsions in Toronto were doled out to elementary school students. The rates remain particularly high for younger Black students in Toronto. They represented 15 percent of the student body in grades seven and eight, but nearly 40 percent of suspensions.
Among this population, one in seven Black students had been suspended at least once, compared to one in twenty white students. In Halifax, during the — school year, Black students made up 8 percent of the student body but The rate of suspensions has changed a little since the s and has been protested as an injustice by the Black community dating back decades.
Canadian Education is Steeped in Anti-Black Racism
A similar picture emerges in Quebec, where Black and other racialized students also face disproportionately high rates of suspension and expulsion. The cdpdj found that Black students, particularly Haitians, were frequently suspended and expelled in a discriminatory fashion for minor infractions, such as being late. This exemplifies perfectly the functioning of racialized punishment: actions that result in a minor sanction when committed by a white youth are punished by extreme measures when committed by a Black child or youth.
Indeed, despite favourable comparisons to the United States that are frequently drawn throughout popular culture, the suspension rates of Black youth in many Canadian schools are comparable to those found in the United States; according to the United States Department of Education, Black students are suspended at a rate three times higher than white students.
These expulsions fuel a cycle of miseducation and abandonment. Special schools for expelled students are disproportionately attended by Black students. These schools have been criticized for offering too few hours and classes for students to be able to fulfill the requirements for passing all of their courses, effectively stunting their ability to further their studies or even stay engaged in the education system.