Untangling the campaign to use Richard Bilkszto's suicide to end diversity training in schools.
good points, all of them.
Thanks for this article, Nora. As a public school teacher, I hope my union leadership speaks out on this event and continues to support anti-racist education as well as suicide prevention resources for staff and students.
Unfortunately, you are mistaken. You seem ill-informed and obviously did not know Richard, nor were you familiar with his tireless and altruistic quest to improve public education for ALL students.
In addition, aside from your credentials, I am not aware if you have been involved with public education in any practical sense yourself. Therefore, my impression is that your information about what really goes on at schools may be outdated.
Furthermore, based on the content and wording of your article, it seems to me that you are judging people based on their skin colour. To me, that is indicative of racist behaviour.
Since the skin colour of people has a direct impact on your perception of their character and/or their views, I would like to clarify that I am not white.
Hi Nora. I respect your right to your opinion, but your article is inaccurate. You claim I have something to gain from the current situation. I do not. I spent a lot of personal time, unpaid, helping Richard through a very difficult time dealing with the press and issues around his lawsuit, because he was a friend. I have also donated time to the cause of public education reform because as a parent I am concerned about it, for my daughter and all students in the TDSB.
Richard’s suicide was horrible and painful for all who knew him. He wanted change and I respect and honour that call. Believe me, there are many other things I could with my time, but I am doing this because I believe it is in the best interests of our kids and what Richard would have wanted.
Also, the fact that I am white is irrelevant. I could tell you about all sorts of discrimination my immigrant European parents faced in Canada in the 1960s because they weren’t white enough for Toronto. Ditto myself as an Anglophone in Quebec in the 1990’s. My daughter faces challenges due to autism. All of us have had struggles and some more than others but the goal of our education system is just that: education. So our children can get skills, including critical thinking skills, and reach their potential.
All the DEI training means squat if our kids can’t read write and do math. It’s not just the money, but the energy, and the emphasis on it as opposed to excellence in education that I find objectionable. As do thousands of parents fed up with violence and bad test scores while school boards try and outdo each other on who has their name on the Forbes most equitable employers’ list.
You will be shocked to learn that DEI is a multi million dollar contract. That Kherridan woman was right - use it on projects for low income kids, not to pad the professional managerial class’ resumes and virtuosity scores.
I am curious because I am white. Is one allowed an opinion that contradicts your assertions and applied opinions? I work with individuals who are non-white who suffer at the hands of the 20th century’s biggest colonialist nation, a nation who has committed cultural genocide, who runs concentration camps, killed tens of millions of its own people , harvests organs, purges intellectuals with a different point of view, and propagates marxist-Leninist propoganda to which you seem enthralled with and seemingly creates the core premise of your arguements.
Your somewhat specious arguement suggests colonization and anti-black racism are the route cause to violence in the schools and has created huge inequity in our Canadian society. I believe your arguement is holy inaccurate but certainly played a role in some racism narratives in the past. I won’t argue that there are neo-nazis and white supremenists in Canada but Richard Bilkszto was certainly not one of them. Furthermore, the narrative does nothing to bring people together and in fact creates an us vs them social construct by creating many false narratives that seek to divide us.
My black, Asian, Indian et el friends and acquaintances which number in the hundreds are hard working success stories who don’t rely on a woke agenda to elevate themselves and to succeed. My parents (white as charged) came as immigrants to this country with the clothes on their backs. Is their struggle to succeed and create opportunity for their children any more unique than the millions of non-white peoples who have immigrated to Canada over the past fifty years?
I concede to you that DEI is important and I can assure you I was fighting for these ideals before you were born but they are not the only criteria that will determine the success of future generations in our school system but to berate a person in a seminar while driving a radical agenda and false narrative (Canadians are more racist than Americans) suggesting inclusion training and equality is imperative for future success seems a tad misconstrued.
I belive is reading kheiriddin’s column she is suggesting that their seems to be race to the bottom is all but assured if we continue with lottery’s for student placement that match 0 skill or ability criteria as a way to create equality & diversity. In fact we should be embracing the merit based criteria as these programs were developed for the uniqueness and diversity of students in today’s world. A focus on exceptionalism and high achievement by all and not LCD education is what will drive success for all and not the few. We are all born with innate intelligence, drive and desire and it’s up to educators to unleash these attributes at school to ensure Canadians can compete at the highest levels in order to fill the gaps and opportunities that the dying baby boomer generation will create and that a competitive world demands of us.
Embrace uniqueness and diversity of skills and abilities. It’s not equality but does make for a more equal and inclusive society. Perhaps teaching the 3r’s, history, economics and democracy and critical problem solving are far better initiatives as suggested by Ms. Kheiriddin They were when I went to school.
PS It is a big deal to be called “White” when one’s supposed whiteness is weaponized against their character which is far deeper than the colour of one’s skin.