The Debate over Afrocentric Schools in Canada

‘‘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)

9 Comments

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9 Responses to The Debate over Afrocentric Schools in Canada

  1. Many of the most outspoken people here against the school are black. Disagreement is fine, but what I can’t seem to grasp is how or why anyone would deny the black community their right to act on a solution they’ve come up with themselves. This school would be in one of our predominantly black neighbourhoods, where most children would already be attending a ‘black school’ that reflects the demographics of the neighbourhood. I find the comparisons to segregation almost insulting. There are other factors at play here, but having a school more inclusive and relevant to students is a start.

  2. Yes, I was very surprised by that. If the school is already nearly all black…what’s the point. A curriculum that is very Afrocentric could help these children…especially if the current system is producing people with such a assimilationist mentality.

  3. I can understand both sides. As long as laws aren’t being broken and the community decides on the issue, what are you gonna do?

  4. I am shocked at how two politically savvy black activist women ( with an obvious agenda) used the specter of racism and the death of jordan manners(go to a peice written about jordan manners by his homeroom teacher which clearly shows jordan was no angel not by far!) to bully the spineless board into fearful submission!! This is reverse racism (yes it does exist in a virulent form just walk through a housing project and see and feel it in action) disguised thinly as concern for the poor marginalized children. But not one main media outlet will even touch the obvious culture of gangs, drugs, guns, single baby mommas, and fatherless children where parental responsibility (another foundation of the Canada I know) is non existant. Instead the poverty, lack of opportunity, poor employment prospects, etc. are all touted as reasons for the crimes! Yet all the media surpresses police, and correctional as well as social services statistics that overwhelmingly prove this is a huge black problem especially the gun crimes. Yet when black activists start ramping up the racist engine ; YOU KNOW RACISM IS USED BOTH AS A SHEILD TO HIDE BEHIND, AND A WEAPON TO BEAT WHITE SOCIETY OVER THE HEAD WITH. THIS DOG AND PONY SHOW AT THE T.D.S.P. was a letter perfect example of this in action. To end briefly I do ask the obvious qeustion; what sort of “african (black history) history is there before the europeans came upon the shores. Actually there is no recorded history of black empires, there are no ruins (discovered to date) to denote any permanent form of civilization,language, no monetary system, no education nothing comprable to any known civilization. Yet somehow the current education system is racist for not getting black students to be proud of their culture. Excuse me but what culture? Jamaican culture? What is jamaican culture other than whats been exported to canada via our swiss cheese way of immigration, you know guns drugs sexual assault(they call it stealing pussy!!) , gangs, bling and bitches and hos. Boy what a cultural gift that is!!! How about this? We make the parent responsible for their child, if the kid is busted, no bail, do an immigration check on his whole family and if they are not from here they all go back!! Immediately!! no appeal, no clemency. If they are from this country check back 5 generations and if they are fron other shores same treatment. I will tell you clearly our crimes would go down by 80% Gauranteed!!!

  5. Well Jen touched most of the relevant issues when racism is used as a sheild and a weapon to twist the politically correct morons that bowed to pressure from black activists. How did this sickness of Jamaican culture(based only on gangs, drugs,control,sexual assault(oh how insensitive of me, (stealing pussy as you fine jamaicans call it), and pumping out baby after baby after baby, naturally no father to help raise the child just welfare, a hatred of anything white that is succesful,refusal to assimilate into Canadian culture, live in criminal enclaves where the code of silence by the whole neighborhood actually helps keep the random murders flourishing. Oh this is Jamaican culture at its finest in Canada!!!! Get out of my country you fucking Jamaican criminal welfare mooching scum!!! Go back to jamaica and live in your foul culture and die in Jamaica, not on my streets you fucking scum!!!!

  6. On sept 16 2008 more black gun violence resulting in two deaths, yep toronto is going to get worse! And of course not one peep out of the Black Action Defense commitee! And two arrests,of two young black thugs today and guess what? These two thugs are already out on bails for robbery with a gun!! Yes sir our spineless courts let two more thugs out so they could pick up right where they left off!! And of course when they get another bail hearing the ourtroom will be crowded with “supporters” and of course momma (no father huh go figure!) and they will clamoir for the two to be realeased with “the strictest conditions” and you know what terrifies me? I worry that the dolts who sit on the bench will grant these punks bail!!! I have no confidence left in our judicial system.

  7. AmeriKKKanOutsider

    Back, to the original debate…Afrocentric schools in Canada…this debate is the same in Amerikkka…I find myself ‘for’ the decision to at least offer the option for students to attend a PRIVATE school that has an Afrocentric curriculum. I’ve seen the benefits of such a system, coming from Washington DC (majority black) where public school curriculum doesn’t give a damn about the mental welfare of its kids, much less about the social welfare. In the few Afrocentric schools I’ve visited the students not only grow up with heighten self identity and pride but with respect of other cultures…In most of these schools they dont teach hatred or separatist views nor say ‘only black kids can attend’…but the accepts all races and has a curriculum that is aimed to refocus these fragile young minds on more community building efforts and reinforcing the need for strong family values…YEA, they can learn all this in a mainstream school, but I think that curriculums like this work best when children are around other kids that they identify with (physically, socioeconomically, and mentally) only because it advances on the fact that there’s less of a distraction and less stressful on the youth to compete against for example his white, blue eyed counterpart…Schools that focus on Afrocentric ideas serve as a safety net for kids that fall into the trap of assimilation and forgetting their roots. Africans that were uprooted from Africa and displaced all over North America and the world for that matter are a part of a Diaspora that is scrutinized as being racist when they establish groups, businesses, schools, and organizations that reinforces their true identities separate from ones they have created from assimilating. Its backwards if we teach our kids that they are special and unique but when it comes to overcoming racism we tell them, ‘treat everybody the same, we are all one’ when WE ARE NOT THE SAME. Schools like this give these children an option to get back a piece of that stolen legacy that was taken from their precious lineage. Many people will say, ok so if that’s true then why can’t the parents just teach them these cultural values away from the school system, well my answer to that is, THEY COULD, THEY DO, and THEY SHOULD, but the majority of these parents don’t know where to begin. This process of Reeducating requires a lot of care and attention, time most parents (white, black, asian, latino, etc.) don’t have throughout the day to give, so why not allow educators dedicated to the cause help out by getting the process started? In other countries like in Latin America, these schools are largely populated by children of latin/Spanish decent. Are their curriculums not lain culture based?? Places like Amerikkka and Canada that are multicultural have multicultural curriculums, but ask any minority of race in these systems that are in touch with their core cultures they will tell you a lot of the time, its JUST NOT ENOUGH…We talk about offering our kids well rounded perspectives on life, well why not the option to an Afrocentric well rounded view to life? These kids are already seeing life through different eyes (based on historical, biological, and social standpoints) so why not aid in focusing these glazes more constructively not allowing many to fall in between the cracks of a system that caters to the majority. Now, they social definition of Afrocentricity paints a radical separatist view, but coming from my bachelor degree in Sociology from a majority white college, I beg to differ socially. I’ve learned so much about myself and the world around me from my deep OVERstanding of my legacy. You can never move forward and appreciate life without OVERstanding where you came from!

    PEACE~

  8. ALAIn

    MOI JE PENSE UNE ECOLE AFROCENTRIQUE SERA POUR AIDER LES ENFANTS A MIEUX S EN SORTIR DANS CETTE TURBULENCE
    EN EFFET SI CES ECOLES S INSPIRENT DES FONDAMENT DE RESPECT D AMOUR DE SAVOIR VIVRE ..CECI POURRA BEAUCOUP AIDER CES ECOLIERS A NE PAS S EGARER DANS LA VIE MODERNE…PLUS A FONCTIONER SELON LES PRINCIPE PROPRE POUR UN MEILLEUR FUTUR AVEC LE RESPECT DE TOUS

  9. fed up

    I see that the afrocentric school is a dismal failure. Thank God for that!!!!

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