University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
The Student Teachers Anti-Racism Society (STARS) promotes anti-racism education at the College of Education, University of Saskatchewan through the support of the College. We work collaboratively to understand, identify, and address individual and systemic racism and its interlocking forms of oppression based on gender, sexuality, ability, class, religion and other socially constructed categories. We believe that anti-racist and decolonizing education, when woven together, can create humanizing and emancipatory change for everyone.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Drive By Racism Must Stop

Thanks to Sheelah M for bringing this article to our attention:http://netnewsledger.com/?p=7330See the Common Ground Cafe post to learn about how residents of Thunder Bay are trying to address and stop racism against Aboriginal people in their community.

Santana booed for using baseball's civil rights game to speak out for civil rights

Here is the link to a blog post about Santana's response to HR 87 (see below) at the Civil Rights baseball game in Atlanta 

See the full post:
Santana is Booed for Using Baseball's Civil Rights Game to Speak Out for Civil Rights.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Stereotypes and Tonto

See the full lesson at Teaching Tolerance:

This lesson revolves around Sherman Alexie’s poignant yet humorous and accessible essay, “I Hated Tonto (Still Do).”...In this lesson, students identify stereotypes commonly applied to American Indians and think critically about how certain groups benefit from perpetuating stereotypes. Students can extend their understanding by formulating a mock interview that tackles the lesson’s essential questions or drafting a letter to protest stereotyping in today’s media.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Anti-racist or colorblind? Learning about racism through songs

See EdChange's link to a list of Race and Racism Songs! Although some of the songs promote colorblindness rather than anti-racism (and most are not current), they can be used to teach students about the difference between claiming to be 'colourblind' and working against racism.

Lesson Ideas (Grade 5 - 12 with adaptations):
1. Teach students about the difference between anti-racism and claiming to be colourblind. Identify the limits and dangers of colourblind claims when working towards racial equity (i.e. (1) ignores the differences in power distributed according to race/skin colour (2) normalizes and makes racial inequality 'invisible' (3) without naming racism, inequalities are assumed to be a result of personal differences and/or deficiencies (4) can be used as an excuse to avoid examining personal beliefs about race (5) claiming not to see colour dismisses the historical and present experiences of racially privileged and oppressed people).
2. Review some of the song lyrics (or find the videos on YouTube) and ask students to identify which ones promote colourblindness and which ones promote anti-racism and explain why.
3. Students can then bring current songs (and music videos) into the classroom that they think challenge racism to share.
4. In small groups or as a class, students can review the lyrics of their selected songs and answer questions. Possible questions could include: What are the messages about race and racism? Do they challenge power inequities and racial stereotypes? Are the messages contradictory (i.e. seem to challenge racism but are sexist and homophobic)? Have the messages in songs about racism changed in the last few decades? Why or why not?

Below is a working explanation of 'colorblindness' from Teaching Tolerance:
To be "colorblind" implies the invisibility of race, something we all know to not be invisible. My experience of the world is informed by being white; other people experience and interact with me informed by my whiteness so, for me, colorblindness feels like an erasure. To be colorblind is to not see my family, where we come from, our history, and our ways of being. "Colorblind" avoids difference rather than recognizing and valuing it. I do not see how a white activist can be an ally from a position of colorblindness. I understand that many people use this term to challenge racial stereotyping, to not see people "as" their color and the associated racial stereotypes, but it functions as assimilation. If we become "colorblind," than to which worlds and ways of being are we being blinded? What are we not "seeing?" And in which "hue" will we be operating? (see link: Dianne Flinn, TeachingTolerance)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Interconnecting Isims: Race, Gender and Homophobia

Dr. Alex Wilson of the department of Educational Foundations, College of Education at the University of Saskatchewan reminds us that anti-racism education needs to include the commitment to understand, identify and work against all forms of oppression. Racism is interconnected with homophobia, sexism, classism and ablism in many different ways. In her STARS presentation last September (2010), Interconnecting Isms: Race, Gender and Homophobia in Education, Dr. Wilson explained how these interconnecting oppressions are acts of violence and are normalized in society. Using the comic book character Whiplash, she explained how this normalization of violence leads to ‘whiplash’ or a negative reaction to something positive such as opposition to anti-oppressive education. For example, because homophobia, heterosexism, and heteronormativity are systemic in society most of us don't recognize these systems of violence and oppression. Therefore, when they are brought to our attention we may become defensive and angry, blame the victims, minimize the violence or deny there is a problem. This reaction to something positive (i.e. standing up for human rights and equality) is what Dr. Wilson calls whiplash. It is a great analogy because, truly, it can feel like whiplash when experiencing this resistance to anti-racist and anti-oppressive education. Drawing from statistics, personal stories, news stories, and qualitative research she also explained how racism, sexism and homophobia impact youth in destructive ways that can, and do, lead to suicide. It was very powerful and emotional when we viewed pictures of young boys who had recently committed suicide and were told that, something is going on. Dr. Wilson shared links to: several diagrams that explain how violence is normalized through power and control.
These diagrams can help us to understand how racism, sexism and homophobia are systems of violence that work to normalize domination. To conclude, she shared examples of individuals who challenge interconnected forms of oppression in spite of the whiplash they experience and she asked the audience to volunteer personal stories of the ways that they work as allies in anti-oppressive education. Dr. Wilson’s final words emphasized that, according to research, the most preventative factor of youth suicide is a positive and meaningful relationship with at least one adult. The fact that so many youth who experience racism, homophobia and sexism do commit suicide alarms us to the fact that we are not doing enough to care for and value our children.

Thank you Dr. Wilson for your powerful messages. If you want to learn more about her work check out these links:


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