Black Lives Matter
TopicBlack Lives Matter
Essential QuestionHow can understanding implicit bias and systemic racism help us address racial injustices?
Learning Standards Content
Students are expected to know the following:
- social injustices in Canada and the world affecting individuals, groups, and society
- self-identity and an individual's relationship to others
Students are expected to do the following:
- Assess and compare the significance of people, places, events, or developments at particular times and places, and determine what is revealed about issues of social justice in the past and present (significance)
I am able to define implicit bias and systemic racism.
I can analyze the significance of legislation and policies and determine their impact on historical and contemporary racial inequality.
I can explain why it is necessary to raise awareness of racism in Canada and to take action for justice.
First People's Principles of LearningLearning involves generational roles and responsibilities.
- Show the short New York Times video Peanut Butter and Jelly Racism (2:27).
- Provide students with a copy of the “Peanut Butter and Jelly Racism: Discussion Questions”. Show the video a second time, pausing to allow students to jot down notes for each question.
- Lead a discussion of the video using the “Peanut Butter and Jelly Racism: Discussion Questions Answer Key”.
- Use the Barometer Strategy to have students demonstrate their opinions on the following statements:
- Racism is an American problem not a Canadian problem.
- Canada has a history of racial injustices.
- Anti-black racism exists in Canada today.
Part 1: Racial Identity and Racism
- Explain that everyone has a racial identity. Sometimes white racial identity is seen as the “default” and people mistakenly think only minorities have a race. It is important to emphasize that all people have experiences with race. People might experience those encounters with race directly, witness them happening to others, or have opportunities, or privileges, as a result of their racial identity.
- Have students respond to the following questions in a journal entry:
- What is your earliest experience dealing with race and/or racism?
- How did you feel while this was happening?
- What was your response and what was the response of others around you?
- What impact did it have on you? What did you learn from the experience?
- Did the encounter change you in some way, and if so, how?
- Divide students into four groups and provide each group with a different story from the New York Times First Encounters with Racism. Provide time for students to silently read their assigned stories.
- Have students meet with their group to discuss their story:
- What happened?
- What was the young person’s response?
- How did their encounter with racism affect/change them?
- What is your personal reaction to this story?
- Have each group report on the story they read.
- Then lead a whole class discussion of the following questions:
- What did you learn that you didn’t know before?
- Did anything challenge what you know or thought you knew?
- How did each of the people’s encounters with racism affect or change them?
- How were these effects similar and different from one another?
- What is the difference between interpersonal racism (individual acts of bias, meanness or exclusion) and systemic racism (policies and practices that are supported by power and authority and that benefit some and disadvantage others) in these stories?
Part 2: Black History in Canada
- Show Heritage Minutes: Viola Desmond (1:00)
- Ask: “Why was Viola arrested? What does racial segregation mean? Are you surprised that segregation laws existed in Canada in 1946 (post WWII)?”
- Explain that in order to understand the current Black Lives Matter movement in Canada, we need to understand the history of Black people in Canada.
- Divide students into nine small groups and assign each group one of the following topics:
- Public Schools
- Post-Secondary and Medical Schools
- Restaurants and Inns
- Recreational Facilities
- Provide groups with access to the Canadian Encyclopedia article Racial Segregation of Black People in Canada. Have groups record discriminatory practices and laws and then present these to the class.
- Using the Historica Canada’s Black History in Canada, have students examine the timeline on pages 4-7. Provide each student with the handout “Black History in Canada Timeline” and have them identify legislation that oppressed Black people and legislative changes intended to improve the quality of life for Black people in Canada.
- Afterwards review the timeline using the “Black History in Canada Timeline: Answer Key”.
Part 3: Systemic Racism in Canada
- Remind students that systemic racism refers to policies and practices that are supported by power and authority and that benefit some and disadvantage others. This is also known as institutional racism.
- Show at least one of the following videos:
- Book trailer for Robyn Maynard’s Policing Black Lives (3:28)
- CBC’s What Systemic Racism in Canada Looks Like (9:56)
- Global News’ Living in Colour: Being Black in Canada, Global News (22:17)
- Ask: “What policies and practices indicate systemic racism in Canada?
- Explain that while Black Lives Matter is a worldwide movement, Canada has its own set of circumstances that make the Canadian movement distinct.
- Distribute the article This is What Sets Toronto’s Black Lives Matter Movement Apart from America’s. Have students read the article and complete the chart “Black Lives Matter in the U.S. and Canada” to compare and contrast the two movements.
Part 4: Impact of Racism in Canada
- Explain that in Canada the Charter of Rights & Freedoms and the Canadian Multiculturalism Act are two of our strongest pieces of legislation to combat racism. There are many ways in which the Government of Canada can address racism:
- policy changes
- providing funding to NGOs to support their efforts in addressing racism
- collaborating with provincial governments and international institutions
- sharing information with the public.
- Have students respond in a journal entry: “How can I raise awareness of racism in Canada and to take action for justice?”
- Have students explore Songs of Black Lives Matter: 22 New Protest Anthems on Rolling Stone magazine’s website.
- Have students select one of the songs, listen to the song, find the lyrics online, annotate the lyrics, consider the meaning of the title and the theme(s), and explore the historical and cultural context.
- Students should select one key lyric from their selected song that connects to Black Lives Matter and write the lyric on a piece of paper. Students can then tape their individual lyrics on the wall and discuss their songs and selected lyrics as a group.
Black Lives Matter – Canada. 2023. https://blacklivesmatter.ca/
Canada. 2018. Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy. Canadian Heritage.
Cole, Desmond. . The Skin We’re In. CBC. [Documentary]
Palmeter, Pam. 2020. Yes, Canada has a Racism Crisis and it’s Killing Black and Indigenous Peoples. Canadian Dimension.
Project Implicit. 2011. Harvard Implicit Bias Test. https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/selectatest.html
The Skin We’re In. [n.d.] Docs for School. https://media.curio.ca/filer_public/4f/a3/4fa39215-bfa5-4fb7-95b3-90de2a77ecf5/skinwereinhdguide.pdf
Spiegler, Jinnie. 2017. First Encounters With Race and Racism: Teaching Ideas for Classroom Conversations. The New York Times Lesson Plans.
University of British Columbia. [n.d.] Anti-Racism Resources. Faculty of Education. Teacher Education Office. https://teach.educ.ubc.ca/anti-racism-resources/
Cole, Desmond. The Skin We’re In: A Year of Black Resistance and Power. [Toronto]: Doubleday Canada, .
Maynard, Robyn. Policing Black Lives: State Violence in Canada from Slavery to the Present. Halifax ; Winnipeg : Fernwood Publishing, .
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Materials and Resources
March 01, 2023