Skip to main content

Multiculturalism, Multicultural Education, and Racialized Students in Canada

  • Living reference work entry
  • First Online:
The Education Systems of the Americas

Part of the book series: Global Education Systems ((GES))

Abstract

This chapter reflects on multicultural education as framed by a Canadian multiculturalism ethos and the settler-colonial reality of Canada, noting what each is intended to accomplish. Through a discussion of Canada’s model of multiculturalism and its framing of multicultural education, we examine Canada’s nationalist agenda of acculturating racialized students into the settler-colonial state as well as the values and norms of whiteness, rather than ensuring equitable schooling and social outcomes for them – Black and Indigenous students in particular. The chapter will show that multicultural education serves to uphold a racial hierarchy that aligns with Canada’s national settler-colonial project. As such, the poor educational outcomes of students are largely a consequence of Canadian educational systems, albeit that many people in Canada and elsewhere continue to believe they are models to be emulated given the framework of multiculturalism. We conclude by proposing that an educational project that centers a vision of decolonization, social justice, and racial equity rather than multiculturalism would better serve the diverse student populations in Canada, and contribute to their educational advancement.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

Institutional subscriptions

References

  • Allen, K. (1996). The transitional year programme at the University of Toronto: A life-line for Blacks seeking a university education. In K. E. Braithwaite & C. James (Eds.), Educating African Canadians. Toronto. Toronto: James Lorimer and Company.

    Google Scholar 

  • Anderson, B. (1983). Imagined communities: Reflections on the origin and spread of nationalism. London: Verso.

    Google Scholar 

  • Arat-Koc, S. (1999). Gender and race in ‘non-discriminatory’ immigration policies in Canada: 1960s to the present. In E. Dua & A. Robertson (Eds.), Scratching the surface: Canadian anti-racist, feminist thought (pp. 207–233). Toronto: Toronto Women’s Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Austin, D. (2010). Narratives of power: Historical mythologies in contemporary Quebec and Canada. Race & Class, 52(1), 19–32.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bakan, A. (2008). Reconsidering the underground railroad: Slavery and racialization in the making of the Canadian state. Socialist Studies/Études Socialistes, 4(1), 3–29. https://doi.org/10.18740/s4c59d.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bashi, V. (2004). Globalised anti – Blackness. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 27(4), 584–606. https://doi.org/10.1080/0141987042000216726.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bickmore, K. (2014). Citizenship education in Canada: ‘Democratic’ engagement with differences, conflicts and equity issues? Citizenship Teaching & Learning, 9(3), 257–278.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Black Learners Advisory Committee (BLAC). (1994). BLAC report on education: Redressing inequity, empowering black learners. Halifax: Black Learners Advisory Committee.

    Google Scholar 

  • Calliste, A. (1994). Race, gender and Canadian immigration policy: Blacks from the Caribbean, 1900–1932. Journal of Canadian Studies, 28(4), 131–148. https://doi.org/10.3138/jcs.28.4.131.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Chadha, E., Herbert, S., & Richard, S. (2020). Review of the Peel District School Board. Government of Ontario. Retrieved from http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/new/review-peel-district-school-board-report-en.pdf.

  • Cole, D. (2020). The skin we’re in: A year f black resistance and power. Toronto: Doubleday Canada.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cooper, A. (2006). The hanging of Angelique: The untold story of Canadian slavery and the burning of old Montreal. Toronto: Harper-Collins.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cote-Meek, S. (2014). Colonized classrooms: Racism, trauma and resistance in post-secondary education. Halifax: Fernwood.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cote-Meek, S., & Moeke-Pickering, T. (2020). Decolonizing and indigenizing education in Canada. Toronto: Canadian Scholars.

    Google Scholar 

  • Coulthard, G. S. (2014). Red skin white masks: Rejecting the colonial politics of recognition. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Davis, A. (2017). “The real Toronto”: Black youth experiences and the narration of the multicultural city. Journal of Canadian Studies, 51(3), 725–748. https://doi.org/10.3138/jcs.2017-0039.r1.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dei, G. J. S. (1996). Anti-racism education: Theory and practice. Halifax: Fernwood Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dei, G. J. S. and Calliste, A. M (Eds.). (2000). Power, knowledge and anti-racism education: A critical reader. Halifax: Fernwood Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dei, G. J. S., & Kempf, A. (2013). New perspectives on African-centred education in Canada. Toronto: Canadian Scholars’ Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dei, G. J. S. (2017). Reframing Blackness and Black Solidarities through Anti-colonial and Decolonial Prisms. New York:Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dhillon, J. (2018). Indigenous girls and the violence of settler colonial policing. Das: In T. Das Gupta, C.E. James, R. Maaka, G.-E. Galabuzi & C. Andersen (Eds.). Race and Racialization: Essential Readings pp. 539–546. Toronto: Canadian Scholars’ Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dumas, M. J., & Ross, K. M. (2016). “Be real black for me”: Imagining BlackCrit in education. Urban Education, 51(4), 415–442. https://doi.org/10.1177/0042085916628611.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Galabuzi, G.-E. (2006). Canada’s economic apartheid: The social exclusion of racialized groups in the new century. Toronto: Canadian Scholars Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Glenn, E. N. (2015). Settler colonialism as structure: A framework for comparative studies of US race and gender formation. Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, 1(1), 52–72.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Goldberg, D. T. (2002). The racial state. Malden: Blackwell.

    Google Scholar 

  • Goutor, D. (2007). Constructing the “great menace”: Canadian labour’s opposition to Asian immigration, 1880–1914. Canadian Historical Review, 88(4), 549–576. https://doi.org/10.3138/chr.88.4.549.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Haque, E. (2012). Multiculturalism in a bilingual framework: Language, race and belonging in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Howard, P. S. S. (2018). On the back of blackness: Contemporary Canadian blackface and the consumptive production of post-racialist, white Canadian subjects. Social Identities, 24(1). https://doi.org/10.1080/13504630.2017.1281113.

  • Howard, P. S. S. (in press). Performing Postracialism: Reflections on Antiblackness, Nation, and Education through Contemporary Blackface in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • James, C. E. (2010). Seeing Ourselves: Exploring Race, Ethinicity and Culture. Toronoto: Thompson Educational Publishing, Inc,

    Google Scholar 

  • James, C. E. (2011). Multicultural education in a color-blind society. In C. A. Grant & A. Portera (Eds.), Intercultural and multicultural education: Enhancing global connectedness (pp. 191–210). New York: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • James, C. E. (2021). “Colour matters”: Essays on the experiences, education and pursuits of black youth. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • James, C. E., Turner, T., George, R., & Tecle, S. (2017). Towards race equity in education: The schooling of Black students in the greater Toronto area. Retrieved from http://edu.yorku.ca/files/2017/%0D04/Towards-Race-Equity-in-Education-April-2017.pdf

  • Jean-Pierre, J., & Nunes, F. (2011). Multicultural education before and after the federal multiculturalism policy: A case study of the Board of Education of the City of Toronto. Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal, 43(1–2), 153–174.

    Google Scholar 

  • Joshee, R. (2004). Citizenship and multicultural education in Canada: From assimilation to social cohesion. In J. A. Banks (Ed.), Diversity and citizenship education: Global perspectives (pp. 127–156). New York: Jossey-Bass/WIley.

    Google Scholar 

  • Langevin, L. (2007). Trafficking in women in Canada: A critical analysis of the legal framework governing immigrant live-in caregivers. International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice, 31(2), 191–209. https://doi.org/10.1080/01924036.2007.9678768.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lawson, E. S. (2013). The gendered working lives of seven Jamaican women in Canada: A story about “here” and “there” in a transnational economy. Feminist Formations, 25(1), 138–156. https://doi.org/10.1353/ff.2013.0002.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Li, P. S. (1982). Chinese immigrants on the Canadian prairie, 1910–47. Canadian Review of Sociology/Revue Canadienne de Sociologie, 19(4), 527–540. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1755-618X.1982.tb00879.x.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Li, P. (2008). Reconciling with history: The Chinese-Canadian head tax redress. Journal of Chinese Overseas, 4(1), 127–140.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mackey, E. (2002). House of difference: Cultural politics and national identity in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Maynard, R. (2017). Policing black lives: State violence in Canada from Savery to the present. Halifax: Fernwood Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ministry of Education-Ontario. (2018). The Ontario curriculum: Social studies, grades 1 to 6; history and geography, grades 7 and 8 (revised). Ontario Public Service.

    Google Scholar 

  • Pardo, C. (2019, October 18). The 10 most multicultural cities in the world. Plus Relocation. Retrieved from https://www.topics.plusrelocation.com/post/102fre3/the-10-most-multicultural-cities-in-the-world

  • Porter, J. (1965). The vertical mosaic : An analysis of social class and power in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Razack, S. H. (1995). The perils of talking about culture: Schooling research on south and east Asian students. Race, Gender & Class, 2(3), 67–82.

    Google Scholar 

  • Razack, S. H. (1999). Making Canada white: Law and the policing of bodies of colour in the 1990s. Canadian Journal of Law and Society, 14(1), 159–184. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0829320100005974.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Schwartz, D. (2015, July 1). How Canada is perceived around the world. CBC News. Retrieved September 27, 2020, from https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/how-canada-is-perceived-around-the-world-1.3132343

  • See, S. (2018). The intellectual construction of Canada’s “peaceable kingdom” ideal. Journal of Canadian Studies, 52(2), 510–537.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Segeren, A., & Kutsyuruba, B. (2012). Twenty years and counting: An examination of the development of equity and inclusive education policy in Ontario (1990–2010). Canadian Journal of Educational Administration and Policy, 136, 1–38.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sexton, J. (2016). The vel of slavery: Tracking the figure of the unsovereign. Critical Sociology, 42(4–5), 583–597.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Simpson, L. B. (2016). Indigenous resurgence and co-resistance. Critical Ethnic Studies, 2(2), 19–34.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Solomon, R.P. (1995). Why to teach from a multicultural and anti-racist perspective in Canada? Race, Gender & Class, 2(3), 49–66. Retrieved February 5, 2021, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/41674708

  • St. Denis, V. (2011). Silencing aboriginal curricular content and perspectives through multiculturalism: “There are other children here”. Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies, 33(4), 306–317. https://doi.org/10.1080/10714413.2011.597638.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • St. Denis, V., & Schick, C. (2003). What makes anti-racist pedagogy in teacher education difficult? Three popular ideological assumptions. Alberta Journal of Educational Research, 49(1).

    Google Scholar 

  • Statistics Canada. (2017a). Ethnic and cultural origins of Canadians: Portrait of a rich heritage. Catalogue no. 98-200-X2016016.

    Google Scholar 

  • Statistics Canada. (2017b). Immigration and ethnocultural diversity: Keyresults from the 2016 census. The Daily. October 25. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/171025/dq171025b-eng.pdf

  • Statistics Canada. (2019). Diversity of the Black population in Canada: An overview. Catalogue no. 89-657-X2019002.

    Google Scholar 

  • Thobani, S. (2007). Exalted subjects : Studies in the making of race and nation in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Tuck, E., & Yang, W. (Eds.). (2018). Toward what justice?: Describing diverse dreams of justice in education. New York: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Uberoi, V. (2016). Legislating multiculturalism and nationhood: The 1988 Canadian Multiculturalism Act. Canadian Journal of Plitical Science/Revue canadienne de science politique, 49(2), 267–287.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Veracini, L. (2011a). Introduction. Settler Colonial Studies, 1(1), 1–12.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Veracini, L. (2011b). Telling the end of the settler colonial history. In F. Bateman & L. Pilkington (Eds.), Studies in settler colonialism: Politics, identity, and culture (pp. 204–218). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Walcott, R. (2014). The book of others (book IV): Canadian multiculturalism, the state, and its political legacies. Canadian Ethnic Studies, 46(2), 127–132. https://doi.org/10.1353/ces.2014.0018.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Walker, B. (2010). Race on trial: Black defendants in Ontario’s criminal courts, 1858–1958. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Wishart, D. (2009). Dynamics of education policy and practice for urban aboriginal early school leavers. Alberta Journal of Educational Research, 55(4), 468–481.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Carl E. James .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2021 Springer Nature Switzerland AG

About this entry

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this entry

James, C.E., Howard, P.S.S. (2021). Multiculturalism, Multicultural Education, and Racialized Students in Canada. In: Jornitz, S., Parreira do Amaral, M. (eds) The Education Systems of the Americas. Global Education Systems. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-93443-3_44-1

Download citation

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-93443-3_44-1

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-319-93443-3

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-319-93443-3

  • eBook Packages: Springer Reference EducationReference Module Humanities and Social SciencesReference Module Education

Publish with us

Policies and ethics