Monday 19 September 2005

Disguising Racial Segregation In Schools

Last week, the Toronto District School Board was publicly cited for considering the establishment of a black-only school in the city. The motive was to improve public education for minorities by fostering an ethnic-sensitive learning environment with black teachers and Afro-centric curriculum. The public reaction towards this recommendation had been swift and polarized. The formal institution of racial segregation in schools had never been done in Canada. In United States, racial segregation in public schools existed until 1954 when the US Supreme Court ruled against the “separate but equal” doctrine of public education and required the desegregation of all schools across America. Today, racial divide and tension still prevail in our educational system that supposedly teaches tolerance, diversity, and multiculturalism. Regardless of the motive behind the decision, the establishment of a black-only school is simply a form of racial segregation in disguise. It will neither provide a more nurturing environment to minorities nor improve tolerance between different ethnic groups in the community. As an immigrant of Chinese descent myself, I have greatly benefited from a multicultural educational system that promotes ethnic diversity and racial tolerance. As Winston Churchill once said, “Those that fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.” Enforcing segregation is not the answer; teaching tolerance is.

By Philip Jong • At 04:34 AM • Under Column • Under World
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