Discrimination of Minorities in Canadian Educational Institutions
The above link is for an article that details the difference in multicultural perspectives between society and the students that are subjected to racial discrimination. For many years there has clearly been an issue in Canadian schools that deals directly with the multicultural nature that defines this nation. Society has taken great leaps in efforts to gravitate towards a more safe and protected school system, but what about the students? Legislation has been implemented to the Canadian school system such as the Safe Schools Act that was passed by the Ontario Ministry of Education. Although this act proved to be successful to a certain degree throughout Canadian schools it is important to take into account the opinions of the students who, according to the article, do not believe that this act of diversity has done their minority groups justice. The first part of the article says that the Safe Schools Act has provided minority groups with reassurance that their hardships throughout the education process have not been overlooked by ensuring the severe punishment of any student who does display any form of racism towards the minority groups. The minority students that are currently attending the schools in Ontario have commented that the act was great in practice but did not include the safety that they wished it would require. These comments being made by students and some educators present us with the second perspective on the issue of mistreatment of minority groups. Since society feels they have done enough to combat the marginalization of minority groups by implementing forms of legislation, some believe that they have satisfied themselves and have put the underlying issues on the back burner which is one issue which must be solved.
The second subsection of the article details the involvement of two teachers from Toronto who have outwardly spoken out against the mistreatment of their minority students. The school in which Sharon Dominick works at is self-defined as a school for rejects; a school in which every student who has any level of intellectual ability or future aspirations would immediately transfer out of. Sharon Dominick has worked alongside her co-worker Melanie Rangan to promote the change that students believe is required to make schools safer. They believe that the Safe Schools Act was only a stepping-stone in the right direction as they detail how the act itself has only provided some teachers with the corrupted ability to control their students, instead of making their student lives innately safer as a whole. Since the school is primarily comprised of a black student body, Melanie and Sharon being clearly defined as the social minority in this school setting, have begun efforts to make the students of their school identify with themselves rather than identifying with their visible minority in society. The article details how schools have begun to implement rules into the education system and Sharon and Melanie disagreed completely with the process. They noticed that the rules that the school was enforcing were clearly directed to attack the identities that define the young black minorities; particularly black males. Sharon and Melanie both approached any student that felt as if they were being marginalized by the system and discovered that their was an outward distaste for how the school was going about making the institution a ‘safer place’. More than one student during the focus group was recorded saying that they felt at some point in time since the new rules were implemented after the Safe Schools Act that they were being penalized more as a visible minority than those students who were not. This is a massive issue in the Canadian Education system especially when considering the diverse nature that defines Canadian culture and needs to be rendered accordingly.
The Safe Schools Act of the year 2000 has spawned a new form of racism that is intrinsically being conveyed by the teachers that vow to make the schools a safer place. My critical perspective on the issue of racial discrimination towards minorities is that the act itself has forced some teachers to wrongfully take a position of power, that which has caused more tension between visible racial minorities and majority professors. The article details the Safe Schools Act introduction into the Ontario school board, which was implemented to provide safety for students of a visible minority. The one factor of the article that did not sit right with me was the idea that teachers have used their position of power over the students attire (hats and jackets) to make all students equal in terms of their ability to portray their individuality. In many cases, a students attire could be an outward display of their cultural heritage or simply just an expression of their emotions, but since the introduction of the Safe Schools Act this is one large aspect that has been removed from the schools. I believe that the students are being extremely marginalized by the teachers of the schools, and should be allowed to convey their identity through their clothing. I understand the premise for schools cracking down on wearing certain articles of clothing for safety purposes but that aspect of the act concerns me. If society believes that by taking away certain clothing from Canadian schools that discrimination towards visible minorities will inevitably decrease then I believe that the provincial government has failed these students. There are so many other ways that the safety of these students could be ensured, but instead taking away their right to dress how they wish is essentially stripping them of their own personality and is on some scale an attempt to integrate the visible minority students into the majority way of life. This attempt, as detailed in the article, is wrong and will stand true as a strong issue in Canadian education until the right approach is taken to prevent the racial discrimination of visible minority groups.
First and foremost I believe that racial discrimination is an issue that can be beaten provided the right measures are taken. From an early age, if students are forced to be subjected to a number of cultures and be forced to embrace them for there similarities, rather than their differences then eventually this issue can be conquered. To speak to the article that I chose to reflect on, I believe that the efforts that have made by Sharon and Melanie are examples of the building block style steps that can be taken to ensure the safety of minority students in schools. Since students feel as if the new rules that have been implemented in the Ontario school system have had a direct impact on their ability to portray their minority cultures than I believe the solution lies in those students voices. In order for all students to get the most out of their academic experience it is important that they feel comfortable in the setting in which they are placed everyday. These students need to be encouraged to reach out and have their voice heard as a community of minority students that all wish to conquer the issue of racial discrimination towards minority groups.