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“WHILE THERE HAVE BEEN REPORTS RE- LEASED AND ACTION PLANS PUT INTO PLACE TO COMBAT ANTI- BLACK RACISM, THERE IS STILL A GREAT DEAL OF WORK WE CAN DO AS EDUCATORS TO ELIMINATE THE SYSTEM- IC BARRIERS THAT EXIST FOR BLACK STUDENTS.” 20 ETFO VOICE | SPRING 2019


that their child finally has a teacher who looks like them after seven years in our education system. There is the excitement my Black stu- dents convey when they finally see a face that looks like theirs at the front of the classroom, elated that I grew up eating the same foods, watching the same television shows, reading the same books and listening to the same mu- sic as they do. There is a comfort families show because we have a shared history and have faced similar adversities. Now I am about to say something that may


come as a shock to some people and be com- mon knowledge to others. We live and work in a country where institutional and struc- tural racism is very real and persistent. Many


of our rules, policies and laws create and/or maintain racial inequity (A Better Way For- ward, p. 10; The Black Experience Project in the GTA, p. 23). While this may be unintentional and does not necessarily mean that people within these organizations are racist, it is still a fact that perpetuates systems of discrimina- tion. At times, it can be difficult for someone who has privilege to understand systemic rac- ism because they live within the system and unknowingly benefit from the structures that are in place. They do not have to face many of the harsh realities that racialized people do. A privileged person may also feel they are


not contributing to the problem because they are not actively discriminating against oth-


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