As discussions on Black rights continuously find their way to mainstream media, I often find myself hopeful that changes will be made to end racial inequity in Canada’s education system.
As a Black woman pursuing her post-secondary education, I have experienced how Canada’s education system enforces white supremacy by ignoring the history and talent of its Black students. Deep rooted into the nation’s education system, this racial inequity is forcing Black students to drop out at higher rates than their white classmates and deterring them from pursuing a post-secondary education.
Canada supports a Eurocentric curriculum founded on the principles of colonialism that continues to teach our students that Black, Indigenous and minority lives are not worth learning about. Mandatory history classes focus on Western history and students are lucky if their school offers optional Indigenous or Black history studies.
Black students like myself work awfully hard and have great aspirations but are taught that we cannot be successful. Ninety-four per cent of Black youth aged 15-25 want to get a bachelor’s degree or higher but only 60 per cent believe they can. While we cannot ignore economic disparities that the Black community faces, we must recognize that Black students are being pushed into applied classes at significantly higher rates than other students. A 2015 report showed that students taking applied courses in Grade 9 are far less likely to go to university.
Ontario’s anti-racism strategic plan and the efforts of the Black Lives Matter movement continue to fool me into believing that change will be made and that Black students will be given the same opportunities as their white counterparts. Unless a change is made, white supremacy and anti-Black racism taught in our schools will continue to contribute to our nation’s racism and inequality.