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Pub Date 04 Sep 2021 | Archive Date 09 Dec 2021

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A firsthand account of systemic anti-Black racism in Canadian schools

The prevalence of anti-Black racism and its many faces, from racial profiling to police brutality, in North America is indisputable. How do we stop racist ideas and violence if the very foundation of our society is built upon white supremacy? How do we end systemic racism if the majority do not experience it or question its existence? Do our schools instill children with the ideals of equality and tolerance, or do they reinforce differences and teach children of colour that they don’t belong?

#BlackInSchool is Habiba Cooper Diallo’s high school journal, in which she documents, processes, and resists the systemic racism, microaggressions, stereotypes, and outright racism she experienced in Canada’s education system.

Powerful and eye-opening, Cooper Diallo illustrates how our schools reinforce rather than erode racism: the handcuffing and frisking of students of colour by police at school, one-dimensional, tokenistic curricula of Black people, and the constant barrage of overt racism from students and staff alike. She shows how systemic racism works, how it alienates and seeks to destroys a child’s sense of self. She shows how our institutions work to erase the lived experiences of Black youth and tries to erase Black youth themselves.

Cooper Diallo’s words will resonate with some, but should shock, appall, and animate a great many more into action towards a society that is truly equitable for all.

A firsthand account of systemic anti-Black racism in Canadian schools

The prevalence of anti-Black racism and its many faces, from racial profiling to police brutality, in North America is...

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ISBN 9780889778184
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Featured Reviews

Habiba Cooper Diallo shares a voice to be heard in #BlackInSchool. This book would be a recommended reading for educating self, and sharing with others -- including students. Thanks to this author for sharing this series of journal entries and reflections.

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CW: anti-Black racism

Thank you to NetGalley and University of Regina Press for an advanced electronic copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

This is a firsthand account of anti-Black racism in Canadian schools. The author shares journal entries from her high school years, documenting experiences of racism in a collection that will resonate with some but shock others, demonstrating how schools reinforce racism instead of actively fighting it.

I picked up this book for the most part because of the title. As a white teacher in a predominantly Black school, I want to do better for my students, and therefore seek out texts that may help me do that. However, I got more than I expected from this one. The author moves to Halifax, Nova Scotia to complete their high school years, which is something that immediately drew me in, as I've lived there and worked in their school system. I was heavily engrossed in these stories/journal entries, and felt that the author spoke incredibly well. This is definitely a title that I recommend.

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Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for this ARC in exchange for my honest review.

I was intrigued when I read the synopsis of this book. Living in the US, I tend to only think about how Blacks are treated in this country. It was both heartbreaking and amazing to hear about the anti-black racism in Canada firsthand.

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Habiba Cooper Diallo journaled her way through school as she grew up in Canada as a young Black woman, and the result is this informative and devastating account. This serves as a testament to Ms. Cooper Diallo's tremendous strength of character and intelligence, and I have no doubt it will take her far. It also serves as damning evidence against the Canadian education system and its harmful ways, and I'm sure it could apply to quite a few other places as well. It should be required reading and discussion material for teachers, administrators, and anyone that is involved in the education of young people.

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