Mandatory Anti-Racist Education in Canadian Schools, Include BIPOC History & Experiences

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In support of the Black Lives Matter movement and the recent protests against systemic racism, Canadians need to start pushing for changes in our country.

It’s long overdue that we need to take a stand against systemic racism. We often celebrate Canada as being an inclusive and multicultural nation, but where is the support and safety for our Black, Indigenous and People of Colour? Canadians want to turn a blind eye on racism, but unfortunately, our country has a dark past and present of oppressing Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC). 

One of the many action steps we’ve been asked to take within the last week in support of the Black Lives Matter movement is to educate ourselves and listen to the experiences voices of the Black community. Education is something that needs to continue beyond this week and beyond the social media coverage of this movement in order to create change. Allyship is the ongoing commitment to standing up against racial injustices. We need to start teaching people how to be allies and fight systemic oppression. There is a whole generation of people that want to deny that white privilege, white supremacy and systemic racism exists in our society because they have not been educated on it. 

Canada’s education system is just one example of an institution that is deeply rooted in systemic racism. The history that is taught is of white history and colonization. We study books and poetry written by white authors and media by white creators. We learned about the law, but not about the systemic oppression of BIPOC that is supported by our legal system. 

All history courses need to include history from BIPOC perspectives. The Canadian history curriculum is taught from a white perspective and glorifies white “heroes” that only further promote white supremacy. Canadian history cannot be taught from a one-sided white-only perspective because that is not the reality of Canada’s past. It is time to stop silencing the voices of our BIPOC community and amplify their voices and history in our education system. 

The entire education system needs to be reformed to include Black and Indigenous history, books, media, stories and perspectives. Canadian education needs to include BIPOC experiences of living in a society of institutionalized racism and how it is still affecting people in our country today. Allyship education and how to dismantle white supremacy need to be included. 

In recent years, some Canadian schools have implemented anti-bullying education and campaigns; but most of this anti-bullying education will be catered to the white experience and will not address the discriminative bullying faced by BIPOC children such as racial microaggressions, racial slurs and racial stereotyping. Schools need to include mental health programs and education that address these issues. There also needs to be counsellors available that are specialized in working with BIPOC students and racial trauma.  

Further expanding on the teaching of BIPOC history in Canada, there need to be Anti-Racism and Diversity curriculums implemented throughout all grade levels. Anti-racist education needs to be mandatory in all Canadian schools. To achieve this, the Ministries of Education in each province would have to work with Anti-Racist educators, including Black, Indigenous and People of Colour that are experts in this field to develop proper curriculums. 

Education is not the primary solution to ending systemic racism and dismantling white supremacy, but it is a step towards it that needs to be taken to inform and educate the next generation to change.