federal election campaign began, issues of racism, white supremacy,
anti-immigrant sentiment, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, misogyny, homophobia,
and transphobia have been playing out across Canada. Every party has had to
address inappropriate comments or social media postings by candidates.
This stew boiled over with the release
of shocking photos of Justin Trudeau in blackface. No doubt these images are a topic of
discussion in your staff room. Possibly they’re providing a teachable moment in
As we’ve seen in the media, Canadians
have mixed feelings about these images and what impact they could or should
have on Trudeau’s political future. That’s not important, in my view. But,
whatever your personal reaction as a citizen and a voter, your reaction as a
teacher is important.
The leadership that teachers
show in the coming days can have a significant impact on everyone in our
communities—especially Black, Indigenous, and people of colour whose experience
of racism is revived by these hurtful images. We need to recognize that
racialized colleagues, students, and their families will be feeling the impact
of this news and would welcome words and gestures of support.
To assist in this work, the BCTF
has resources on our TeachBC
database that you can use in your classroom and anti-racism workshops you can
book for your school. Learn more about the Federation’s work around Equity and
Inclusion, including our Guide
to Allyship. And racialized members may find useful information in this
article about self-care in the face of daily racism.
Now is the time to stand in
solidarity against racism. Now is the time to learn to be better allies. Let’s
work together to ensure our schools are inclusive, safe spaces for all."