White Accountability and Anti-Black Racism
This evening, March 1, the day after Black Heritage, Black Excellence, Black Futures month, we hosted a free event for white educators to examine how they show up for Black colleagues and Black students. Together we examined what it means to be an accomplice in the fight against anti-Black racism.
The conversation was rich, and we'd like to share with you some resources in hopes that these conversations continue beyond the month of February. These are resources that we collected over the past month that help to unpack the “why and how” of identifying anti-black racism, and the importance of being racially literate.
As a caveat to sharing these resources we'd like to share Dr. Bettina Love’s observation about allyship: “An ally knows all the language, they read all the books, they come to the meetings with all the terms. They read the report before you read the report. [...] [But the difference] between being an ally and a co-conspirator [is that you need to] put something on the line for somebody!” (source: Dr. Bettina Love explains what she means by a co-conspirator | C-SPAN.org) So please learn from the resources, but don't let reading and intellectualizing be the only thing you do to support Black colleagues and students.
Resources to Share
Ontario College of Teachers
This resource is thorough. Important are the clear examples of anti-Black racism in schools and a set of questions for self reflection.
The Pervasive Reality of Anti-Black Racism in Canada BCG Consulting
This article provides some excellent facts and figures that illustrate the pervasiveness of anti-Black racism in Canada.
Excerpt: “The research we compiled shows the realities of the Black experience in Canada, which when put together are eye-opening:
Black students are four times more likely to be expelled from a Toronto high school than White students
Black workers are twice as likely as Asian workers and four times as likely as White workers to report experiencing racial discrimination in major decisions at workplaces in Canada
Black university graduates earn only 80 cents for every dollar earned by White university graduates – despite having the same credentials
Black women are three times less likely to have a family doctor than non-racialized women in Ontario
Black residents are 20 times more likely than a White resident to be shot dead by police in Toronto”
The Conversation Excerpt:
“To work towards a solution, educators must gain clarity about problems Black youth face. This requires recognizing that the educators’ work is not neutral, but linked to a larger social, cultural, historic and economic contexts. Educators must use a critical anti-racism lens to dismantle offending practices. They must question power relations in the school environment. They need to recognize the psychological harm and trauma that may undermine Black youth safety in classrooms. The ways that racism is experienced by Black youth in education must be identified, acknowledged and validated.”
“"When my students see themselves in the learning and they see themselves as part of what they're learning, that's when I get the best out of my students. That's when they begin to thrive. That's when they begin to be excited about the learning and be engaged," he explained.”
The Conversation Excerpt:
“Facing anti-Black racism and committing to addressing it means teachers and administrators are called on to develop school plans, curriculum, safe classroom spaces and policies, as well as teacher education, to ensure Black students receive the same access, resources and support as their white counterparts. This emphasis on sameness is important because it supports the fight for rights to education under the law. This is key to aiding Black youth in their academic success.”
“In a country that refuses to acknowledge that our systems are anti-Black and harmful, oppressive policies and practices continue unchecked. Equity commitments fall flat in a culture that actively denies there is any need for that work. And Black people in Canada must shoulder the double burden of anti-Black racism and constant silencing, resistance, and gaslighting when they attempt to address it.
For Canada to progress beyond “niceness” towards real equity, we as a nation must face the realities that anti-Black racism is a key feature of our history, it continues to be a pervasive problem in the present day, we are no better than our American counterparts, and intentional and meaningful action is required to eliminate anti-Black racism. [...] Nothing will change until Canadians acknowledge that anti-Black racism is our problem to fix.”
National Equity Project
This resource provides a graphic to help understand systems of oppression, and includes a set of questions you can ask to better see and understand inequities.