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The Hamilton School Board Commits to Treating Our Children Unequally
Recently published curriculum outlines the neo-racism and illiberalism of Ontario education
Recently, the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) released their new learning manifesto: Learn. Disrupt. Rebuild. As a roadmap indicating where education is headed in this country, all Canadians should read it.
The modules unabashedly make identity – specifically, racial and sexual identity – the core focus of education. The second priority seems to be teaching children that Canada is systemically racist. Children learn that the roots of anti-Black racism “are embedded in our society, in our culture, in our laws and in our attitudes. They are built into our institutions and perpetuate the social and economic disparities that exist in everything.”
These lessons start in kindergarten and continue annually through high school.
Anyone who still believes that Critical Race Theory doesn’t influence Ontario pedagogy will have their bubble quickly burst as they review the materials. As noted in the Primary module on racism, designed for Kindergarten to Grade 1 students, the definition of “racism” is “grounded in Critical Race Theory”. The core premise being that “racism is ordinary” in our country; it is the normal way Canadian “society does business”.
To fight this ubiquitous racism, elementary students are taught to prioritize racial difference and to understand colourblindness itself as a “form of racism”. A lesson that stands in stark contrast to what was taught to many of those same students’ parents in Canadian public schools a mere generation ago.
Grade 2 & 3 students are “taught” that colourblindness where “racial categories do not matter and should not be considered when making decisions such as hiring and school admissions” is wrong because “it posits itself on the premise of equality for all, rather than equity and thus, at its core is an insidious practice of racism in itself.”
Race is presented as the core of our identity. One exercise asks children to look in a mirror and write down the “race, and other cultural markers that make them who they are”. Since no school child needs to look into a mirror to confirm their race, this exercise, like many throughout the modules, feels distinctly psychological in nature. It has the cult-like quality of forcing children to connect with their skin colour above all else, whether or not they came to school with that self-image.
In the Check Your Privilege module, children “learn” about the “myth of meritocracy”, where the idea that “success in life is based on your ability or how hard you work” is debunked. The concept is demonstrated with an exercise in which each student tries to throw a crumpled-up paper ball into a wastebasket. A successful shot is their chance to “reach the upper class” (Canada’s “1%”), but the rub is that everyone must shoot from their own desk, and some children are situated much closer to the wastebasket than others.
With this exercise the value of hard work is discarded alongside the crumpled-up paper. All disparity in society shall be understood as arising from a rigged game in which where we are placed in early life dictates our outcomes forevermore.
I cannot think of a less empowering message.
Canadian educators have a radical vision for our country – one of resource redistribution along group identity lines– and they are blatantly indoctrinating our schoolchildren as activists for that cause.
While elementary school children lack the facilities to do anything but take these lessons at face value, any clear-headed adult will notice that the focus is squarely on outcome-based metrics. Evidence of actual discrimination in policy or actions is not provided (or required). Only disparity in group outcome matters.
This neo-Marxist view ignores significant demographic factors in Canada. As one highly relevant example that is likely to impact both accumulated wealth and policing statistics, Canada’s Black population is much younger than the general population. The median age of Black Canadians is 29.6 years, whereas the median age of the Canadian population as a whole is 40.7 years. The median age for white Canadians isn’t included in the Statistics Canada source, but based on what is widely known about Canada’s aging population, it is almost surely considerably above the average. In the U.S., for example, the most common age of white citizens is 58 years old.
Let me share an anecdote, using the available Canadian figures. When I was 29 years old, I had just graduated with a master’s degree (and with $60K worth of debt). I was so broke that, instead of accepting a career offer in a new City, I worked in a restaurant for the summer as to live rent-free while saving up first and last months’ rent. Before I reached 40, I had paid off my student loans, earned several merit-based pay increases, had years invested in a pension, and owned a home. To state what is obvious to everyone but radicals, even the very same person will not experience “equitable outcomes” across their lifespan.
As populations age, they accumulate more wealth, education, and positions of influence. Economic policies to redistribute such gains from one group of people, with an older average age, to a younger population is not “equity” but theft.
A second factor ignored by critical race theorists, and the Ontario educators who emulate them, is that Canada is a high immigration population, meaning that outcomes statistics are constantly in flux as new Canadians enter the country. Canada’s current immigration targets aim to bring 400,000 new people to Canada each year – the equivalent population of the City of London, Ontario. While Canada is fortunate to benefit from a broad-range of diverse immigrants, the trendlines are clear: the overwhelming majority of Canada’s immigrants come from non-white counties and they immigrate for economic opportunity (see data).
It is not reasonable to expect that families relatively new to Canada should have, on average, the same outcomes of those who have been here generations. No matter how fair Canada is as a country, it cannot be expected to compensate people for any lack of economic opportunity they may have faced before even arriving.
Further, white people are not even the most successful group in Canada (or the United States), as Rav Arora, himself a fairly recent graduate of Canada’s K-12 system, covers so well.
The biggest challenge Canadians face right now is seeing through the Orwellian language used to manipulate us – and standing up to that psychological manipulation.
Terms like “anti-racist”, “diversity” and “inclusion” superficially represent our deepest cultural values. In their modern usage, however, they provide cover for the systemic destruction of what we value most as a society: equality, individualism and meritocracy.
As the Hamilton-Wentworth school board is clear that it strongly rejects “the premise of equality for all”, its educators owe us some answers: What specific guidelines are followed in treating our children unequally? Are individual teachers free to make personal judgements about how to enact unequal treatment? How much inequality should Hamilton-Wentworth students expect?
Perhaps the Boards’ dismissal of “reverse racism” offers a clue: it states that prejudice against white people “does not qualify as “racism”. Centering race in education then is a distinctly asymmetrical arrangement; only white children can be truly guilty, and only children of colour require protection from racism.
While it’s clear that it is white children, “white society” and “white systems” that will bear the brunt of criticism in Ontario schools, no child will escape the consequences of this divisive pedagogy. After generations of making race increasingly less important in our society, the “progressives” have brought it back as the most important factor of all. When in history has this worked out well?
My own children are mixed-race with African heritage. Ostensibly, this pedagogy is designed to benefit them. Yet I fail to see how my children, born into one of the greatest eras of opportunity of all time, benefit in any way from being taught that western systems were designed to oppress them or that “merit is a myth”.
This ideology is not good for Black children and it’s not good for society.
If you have children in the HWDSB, I suggest you ask your child’s teacher or school Principal how they intend to allocate unequal treatment in classrooms. And when they assure you that “everyone will be treated fairly”, in direct contrast to their own literature, ask them to prove it by removing the demonization of colourblindness from their curriculum.