Many black teachers across Ontario still face racism on the job, according to a new study of educators, half of whom said they believe being black has hurt their chance of promotion. Some told of hearing the ‘N’ word used in the staff room and being mistaken for a trespasser.
“I had a supply teacher tell me I am not allowed to park my car in staff parking,” said one of the 148 black educators across 12 Ontario school boards surveyed for a report to be released Friday. “The ‘N’ word was used in casual conversation in our staff room,” said another. “I was introduced as ‘home girl’ to a student teacher.”
The 63-page report, The Voices of Ontario Black Educators, prepared for the Ontario Alliance of Black School Educators (ONABSE), calls for Ontario to enact tough employment equity legislation, provide training against anti-black bias, set targets for promoting teachers of colour and cluster black teachers in particular in schools where there are high numbers of black students.
“We’re disappointed, but not surprised at the findings — racism is still deeply ingrained in society,” said Warren Salmon, interim president of ONABSE, which commissioned the report because of concerns expressed by its members.
Of the black teachers, principals and vice-principals surveyed, one-third said they believe they have been passed over for advancement because they are black. Some 27 per cent said racial discrimination by colleagues affects their day-to-day work life and 51 per cent said they believe anti-black bias at their school board affects who gets promoted.
Equity consultant Tana Turner of Turner Consultants conducted the survey, and called for school boards to “set equity goals and timetables — not just have an employment equity office which merely measures the numbers of employees …
“If the government wants to close the gap in racial diversity between students and those at the front of the classroom,” she said, “legislation and other government interventions may be needed.”
Toronto vice-principal Darlene Jones said she has not experienced racism either as a teacher or as vice-principal of Beverley Heights Middle School — “not at all; but I’m not alarmed that it exists. It’s our world; you just have to hope that by changing mindsets, things will change.”
Jones was a teacher at Brookview Middle School at Jane and Finch, where she said the staff by design reflects the diversity of the student body. “But any race of teacher can teach a black child if they have the passion, skill and desire — still, it’s good to see a black teacher as a role model.”
The report included numerous anecdotes of “micro-aggressions … the everyday slights, insults and indignities” that imply black teachers don’t belong:
- One was “asked by a principal if I would ever consider straightening my hair.”
- Another was “told I should steer away from too much black history in the class as black history is not important when no black students are present.”
- On arriving at a new job assignment, “colleagues asked if I am a new caretaker.”
- “A colleague was shocked that I was raised by both parents — and expressed it in the staff room.”
Turner noted that in 2011, 26 per cent of Ontarians were “racialized” (visible minorities) — a figure that soars to 72 per cent in Markham, 66 per cent in Brampton, 54 per cent in Mississauga and 49 per cent in Toronto. However, she said the percentage of teachers of colour lags behind the population.
Some 31 per cent of the Toronto District School Board’s staff self-identified as visible minorities in 2012. At the University of Toronto’s faculty of education, 46 per cent of current students self-identified as being part of a visible minority.
The ONABSE report calls for more rigorous tracking of the diversity of teachers in Ontario schools.
- Commentary: Teachers love their jobs and feel valued but face immense challenges
- Meghan Markle Faced Racism. Where Does That Leave the Rest of Us? | Opinion
- Steven Crowder Faces Racism Backlash After Mocking 'Reparations' for Black Farmers
- To retain more Black teachers, new Colorado higher ed program supplements their salary up to $20K
- S. Korea's first black model faces widespread racism
- Local Organization Black Men Teach Works To Create ‘Generational Change’
- Racism Reporting Tool Launches for Schools in Canada to Track Anti-Black Incidents
- Study highlights ‘uncomfortable truth’ about racism in the job market
- I’m a young Black man in Canada and I’ve found my voice. Here I am
- Fact Check: Are Buffalo Schools Teaching Students That All Whites Perpetuate Racism?
- 50 Photos of the Sports World Showing Support for Black Lives
- Full transcript of "Face the Nation" on February 7, 2021
- Please Don't Ask Why There Are so Few Black CEOs | Opinion
- Meghan's treatment by royals and press "shined a light on the structural racism" in the U.K., lawmaker says
- To Fight Hate in a Post-Trump World, We Need a New Black-Jewish Alliance | Opinion
- Full transcript of "Face the Nation" on March 7, 2021
- Black maternal health omnibus package introduced by Democratic lawmakers
- Commentary: Teachers can focus better if subjective, irrelevant factors removed from annual appraisals
- Georgetown Law Professor Sandra Sellers Fired Over ‘Reprehensible’ Remarks About Black Students On Zoom Recording, Dean Says
- ‘I Am a Child!’ Pepper Spray Reflects Policing of Black Kids
Black teachers still face racism on the job in Ontario have 876 words, post on www.thestar.com at May 29, 2015. This is cached page on Talk Vietnam. If you want remove this page, please contact us.