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    OP-ED

    Op-Ed

    Like many Black Canadians, I have had my share of negative experiences in the school system. I remember a white kid not wanting to hold my hand as we formed a “sharing circle” in kindergarten. In Grade 1, the teacher never once called my name when I had my hand up. I was invisible to her. They created the gifted program in Grade 3. Apparently, I tested high enough to qualify. I learned recently that I was not admitted until my parent strenuously intervened. It had been difficult for the school to accept a Black child into a program that…

    In early August 2013, Ricardo McRae never imagined that his daily walk from the subway to his old apartment on Yonge St. and Davisville Ave. would land him in hospital. 

    Within the year 2020, we have seen one of the largest rises of young entrepreneurs in economic history; (Generation Z specifically). Even I, who was working towards a career in the corporate side of marketing, scrapped the idea of becoming part of someone's company. I wanted to keep my authenticity while establishing my own rules and culture, doing what I love.

    Just a 30-minute drive from downtown Toronto, the suburban town of Oakville boasts of having some of the "most picturesque harbours" and "best dining options" in the GTA. It is home to many of Ontario's most affluent residents...residents who are predominantly white.

    This piece is in partnership with Toronto's Manifesto, an Instagram platform founded by Chelsea Martin and Imani Busby, dedicated to uplifting the Black and Indigenous communities across Canada while providing educational resources and ways to support these communities.

    A big change happened in Ontario’s education system last week. It a game changer for Black and racialized kids, and you likely have not even heard about it.

    “Ya, you’re smart for…you know…a Black girl”.  I’ve always thought it was strange that as a society we allowed White people to capitalize on the characteristic of intelligence. More importantly, we’ve accepted the universal stereotype that marginalized cultures lack sophistication and intelligence. Therefore, allowing dominant White culture to use this as a justification to continue to oppress ethnic groups, predominantly the Black community.

    As the Ontario Government gears up to end Grade 9 streaming, this will have important implications for the Black community, as well as other racialized communities and marginalized people. As a Black person of immigrant parents who themselves experienced the Ontario high school system, I actually benefited from streaming. I started to think about how that, and other privileges I experienced helped shape my high school opportunities. I also began to question how some disadvantages may have had lasting impacts on my peers and other Black, racialized or marginalized people.

    The Internet is racist, sexist, homophobic, as well as every other type of vile manifestation of behaviour that you can imagine. If you don't believe me, you can consult the work of a few notable academics (Dr. R. Benjamin, Dr. L. Nakumara, Dr. S. Noble, to name a few), whose research uncovers some of the dark, deep, spaces of oppression that exist online. Still, no one can deny that the Internet also brings life to fascinating new media technologies and interesting social platforms which expand interconnectivity.

    As two Black women in academia, nothing irks us more than seemingly well-meaning colleagues presenting racism as an unfortunate outcome of history. A stubborn moral irritant that simply requires hardy dialogues and cross-cultural potlucks. However, to broach the insatiable echoes of Eric Garner and George Floyd rasping ‘I can’t breathe’ requires an understanding of the violence that is inordinately mapped onto Black lives that cannot be simply talked away nor commodified ‘one dish at a time’. In fact, far from accidental or incidental, anti-Black racism was birthed to sustain white supremacy by design.

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