Anti-racist videos help teachers dismantle racism and colonialism in the classroom
Our classrooms can mirror oppressive structures in our society. Those who wish to build an anti-racist future can work toward including more narratives, histories and teaching methods in their classrooms.
This was the message of Jamilah A.Y. Dei-Sharpe, who gave the closing presentation at Intercollegiate Ped Day 2022 on Jan. 14 and presented her Anti-Racist Pedagogy Project as a tool for educators who want to dismantle colonial and racist systems in the classroom. About 100 people attended the event.
Jamilah is a Ph.D student in Sociology at Concordia University specializing in critical race studies, critical gender studies, decolonial pedagogy and Black masculinity studies.
She established the Anti-Racist Pedagogy Project in 2021 to give educators a step-by-step guide for bringing anti-racist content and conversations into their classrooms.
In 2020, the Black Lives Matter movement and the pandemic created an urgency around the topic of anti-racism.
“This was a teaching moment,” she said, adding that the impact of the pandemic was felt disproportionately by Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC).
Jamilah mentioned that BIPOC breakout rooms on Zoom have been embraced by some and criticized by others. She counselled educators to ask their students if they would like to be placed in a BIPOC group before offering it.
Promoting a counter narrative
“We need to seek beyond our desire for clear answers and conclusions,” she said. There are many approaches to anti-racist education, which goes way beyond white-black racism. Anti-racist education promotes a counter-narrative, she said.
The Anti-Racist Pedagogy Project is an initiative dedicated to encapsulating decolonial, anti-racist, social justice focused educational material by faculty, staff, students, and community activists onto a public database.
The video collection offers proactive techniques for combatting systemic racism within and beyond the classroom, with themes ranging from the mainstreaming of anti-black racism to facilitating a healing environment as an instructor.
Video collection features Montreal citizens and activists
Each video is 10 to 30 minutes, Montreal-specific and contains a guided resource list to direct the audience to learn and participate further offline. The tool is offered for free.
Jamilah encouraged teachers to complete a self-reflection exercise before embarking on the anti-racist work. “It is hard to avoid and not maintain racism in the classroom. We are not separate from our classroom. We are intertwined with it,” she said.
Jamilah concluded with an invitation to join the anti-racist community and an offer to provide free anti-racist consulting to 10 CEGEP teachers.
- Visit the Getting Started page (includes link to self-reflection exercise) of the Anti-racist Pedagogy Project: https://www.concordia.ca/ctl/curriculum/anti-racist-pedagogy/videos.html#getting-started
- Anti-racist Pedagogy Project Video Collection: https://www.concordia.ca/ctl/curriculum/anti-racist-pedagogy/videos.html#videos
- Jamilah’s website: https://www.jamilahds.com