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“FOR THE BLACK YOUTH THAT I SERVE, I AM CONSTANTLY THINKING ABOUT HOW ANTI-BLACK RACISM PLAYS OUT IN THEIR SCHOOLING EXPERIENCE. BLACK STUDENTS ARE NOT ONLY TREATED AS IF THEY ARE INFERIOR, BUT THEY ARE ALSO FREQUENTLY TREATED AS IF THEY ARE A THREAT WITHIN EDUCATION SETTINGS. BLACK STUDENTS HAVE THIS GAZE CAST UPON THEM BASED ON THEIR BLACKNESS. THIS GAZE REGULATES AND OBJECTIFIES HOW THEY LOOK, TALK, MOVE AND ACT. IT LEADS MANY OF THEM TO FEELINGS OF NOT BELONGING AND ISOLATION.”


STEPHANIE: Thank you for talking about the experiences of Black students and the ways the systemic forms of oppression play out in schools across Ontario. What is anti-Black racism? How has COVID-19 further exposed anti-Black racism in your life and in the lives of the students you serve?


TANITIÃ: I describe anti-Black racism as a specific kind of racial prejudice experienced by Black people. Anti-Black racism devalues our Blackness in all aspects of society. I think about the many covert and overt ways that Black people are suppressed in various Canadian institutions, workplaces, schooling environments, communities and homes. Anti-Black racism maintains and privileges whiteness and Eurocentric ideologies. As a Black woman, the racism I experience is different from the


racism that other racialized groups in Canada navigate. Unfortu- nately, Canadian multiculturalism often disguises my reality and seeks to reinforce the notion that belonging and integration are here. This dominant ideology denies the enslavement of Africans in this country and creates this whole notion of exceptionalism where we understand Canada as being better than the United States. Meanwhile, I know, because of my Blackness, the anti-Black racism I experience informs all aspects of my life in this country. For the Black youth that I serve, I am constantly thinking about


how anti-Black racism plays out in their schooling experience. Black students are not only treated as if they are inferior, but they are also frequently treated as if they are a threat within education settings. Black students have this gaze cast upon them based on their Blackness. This gaze regulates and objectifies how they look, talk, move and act. It leads many of them to feelings of not belong- ing and isolation.


32 ETFO VOICE | WINTER 2020


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