‘‘Black school is segregation. Martin Luther King and how many of our fathers fought to come together, so blacks and whites could be together. Sitting at the front of the bus together. This is 2008. Please. What we’re doing is segregating each other. – Loreen Small, Jordan Manners’ mother, to the Toronto District School Board on Tuesday night.
Living in America I can’t say I agree with that. I feel that Afrocentric, all black schools can help some students, especially those students who come from communities where they only encounter blacks and other minorities in 70% of their day to day life. For example, I’ve lived in communities on the east coast where I could go all day (especially on a weekend) and see less than 2 white people all day. Many children need are not socialized by the black community with regard to functioning in integrated environments. They need a strong sense of identity and to be taught there history, so that they won’t become victims of assimilation. Many times black children only identify with current black culture, because that’s all they are taught. If these children can learn of their whole selves, their whole history, they can then be socialized to deal with the greater, diverse culture. They will understand that they have a rich, important history. They will understand their unique and beautiful place in the world. From that perspective, many children will be able to better integrate when they move on from an Afrocentric school, in my opinion. However, having said this…I know that just because a student attends an Afrocentric school doesn’t mean they will gain the type of perspective I’m talking about. That really takes a holistic approach…family, community, schools, spiritual life, etc. I certainly would not assume that a “black only” school would be an “answer” for Black Canadian children, especially if the black community and experts are not in control of it’s creation.
I understand that parents don’t want their children to be marginalized. I’ve been a bit surprised though by the “tone” of some of the black parents presented in the Canadian press. Here’s an example…
“First and foremost, I support a curricula based on everyone’s history. I am truly supportive of an inclusive mandated curriculum where all students are reflected. Not a seperate school for ‘‘blacks’’ only.
“My children are African-Canadians born and educated in Canada — in Toronto schools — and are exemplary, successful, productive members of a democratic society, and they did not attend a ‘‘black’’ school. My husband and I ensured that our children were fully engaged, loved, well-rounded and supported, both in the home and in school.
Today’s black parents, whether due to poverty, socio-economic factors or marginalization, need to be fully engaged in the daily lives of their children.
Black mothers should examine their lifestyles with regard to issues of drugs, gangs, early pregnancy and multiple pregnancies and absent fathers, and how these factors affect their lives and that of their children to fully succeed.” – Stephnie Payne is Trustee for Ward 4, Toronto District School Board (National Post)