A young Black woman documents the systemic racism in her high school diary and calls for justice and educational reform.
The prevalence of anti-Black racism and its many faces, from racial profiling to police brutality, in North America is indisputable. How do we stop racist ideas and violence if the very foundation of our society is built upon white supremacy? How do we end systemic racism if the majority do not experience it or question its existence? Do our schools instill children with the ideals of equality and tolerance, or do they reinforce differences and teach children of colour that they don't belong?
#BlackInSchool is Habiba Cooper Diallo's high school journal, in which she documents, processes, and resists the systemic racism, microaggressions, stereotypes, and outright racism she experienced while being Black in school in Canada.
Powerful and eye-opening, Cooper Diallo illustrates how our schools reinforce rather than erode racism: the handcuffing and frisking of students of colour by police at school; one-dimensional, tokenistic curricula portraying Black people; and the constant barrage of overt racism from students and staff alike. She shows how systemic racism works, how it alienates and seeks to destroys a child's sense of self. She shows how our institutions work to erase the lived experiences of Black youth and try to erase Black youth themselves.
Cooper Diallo's words will resonate with some, but should shock, appall, and animate a great many more into action towards a society that is truly equitable for all.
About this Author
Habiba Cooper Diallo was a finalist in the 2020 Bristol Short Story Prize, the 2019 Writers' Union of Canada Short Prose Competition, and the 2018 London Book Fair Pitch Competition. Habiba lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and is an advocate and activist in support of women's maternal health.
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