Wednesday, January 30, 2008

It was a bad idea 50 years ago...

Toronto trustees narrowly approve black-focused school
From Wednesday's Globe and Mail
January 30, 2008 at 12:49 AM EST

TORONTO — In a tight vote, Toronto District School Board trustees Tuesday night approved a contentious proposal for a black-focused school that opponents argued would be the equivalent of segregation.

The 11-9 vote in favour came after an evening of impassioned pleas both for and against the school from community members, including one from the mother of slain 15-year-old Jordan Manners.

Tuesday night's vote means that an alternative Afro-centric school will open in the city in September, 2009, but its location and grade levels are still to be determined.

I've thought about it, and while I understand the intentions behind it, I'm opposed to this. I think it's a very, very bad idea. We need more interaction and more inclusion in a society like this, not less. I'm sorry, this is segregation. It will promote different standards. It will lead to disparities in resource allocation — perceived, if not real. It will exacerbate the alienation already fostered by race when it makes that very aspect a matter of public policy. This does not serve the community interest. Where does it lead us? Chinese schools? Indian schools? Arab schools? Nordic schools? Is this good for Toronto? Is it good for Canada?

I agree that the teaching in schools is too Eurocentric. At least it was 20 years ago when I was there. There was discussion of what happened in Europe leading to the European colonization of the Americas and then our role in several European wars. Little was said of Asia; nothing of Africa outside of the slave trade. That should change. This country is forged of threads from around the world; it is in the interests of every Canadian to understand the history, trends, and motivations of every culture and society that has come to these shores to contribute. We need to learn about one another, because it's now about learning about ourselves. Breaking off from one another to go to our own rooms and stare at our own pretty navels is not the answer. As has been demonstrated concerning Eurocentism, it is, in fact, the problem.

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