Academic journal article Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal

What Does Race Have to Do with It? Challenging the Preservice Admissions Process

Academic journal article Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal

What Does Race Have to Do with It? Challenging the Preservice Admissions Process

Article excerpt

Abstract

While Canada boasts a federal policy on employment equity, these initiatives extend past the workforce into the domain of university admissions where applicants are often faced with the option of identifying themselves as a "visible minority." There exists, however, a lot of ambiguity surrounding how this collected data is used and the reasons why diversity is sought after. In the field of education, dominant discourses assert that teachers should reflect the increasingly diverse student population, but how does this affect the way that racialized individuals approach the admissions process? How do racialized educators understand the role of race and equity in the preservice admissions process? Using an anti-racist theoretical framework, in-depth individual interviews with 21 racialized teachers reveal the complexity of equity initiatives. Without knowing how applicants' demographical information is used, numerous participants express feelings of frustration, insecurity, and confusion. A lack of transparency and information in policies designed to achieve equity lead to widespread misunderstandings about the importance of these initiatives in promoting access to diverse individuals. The inside perspectives of racialized teachers contribute to a deeper understanding of how equity policies are interpreted and what adverse effects they can have on the individuals they intended to support.

Resume

Bien que le Canada ait etabli une politique federale sur l'equite de l'emploi, ces initiatives depassent la force de travail dans le domaine des admissions universitaires oil les candidats sont souvent confrontes a la possibilite d'etre identifies comme des << minorites visibles >>. Il existe, cependant, beaucoup d'ambiguite autour de Ia facon dont les donnees recensees sont utilisees et les raisons meme qui fondent la recherche de Ia diversite. Dans le domaine de l'education, les discours dominants attestent que les enseignants devraient refleter l'accroissement de la population estudiantine diversifiee, mais comment cela affecterait Ia facon dont les personnes racialement etiquetees aborderaient le processus d'admission? Comment les educateurs racialement etiquetes apprehendent-ils le role de la race et de l'equite dans le processus des services preadmissions? L'usage d'un cadre theorique antiraciste, des entretiens individuels approfondis avec 21 enseignants racialement etiquetes revelent la complexite des initiatives d'equite ignorant comment l'information demographique des candidats est utilisee, de nombreux participants expriment un sentiment de frustration, d'insecurite et de confusion. Le manque de transparence et les politiques d'informations destinees a des objectifs d'equite ont plutot conduit a la dissemination des malentendus au sujet del l'importance de ces initiatives dans la promotion de l'acces a la diversite des individus. La perspective interne des enseignants racialement etiquetes contribue a la comprehension plus approfondie de la facon dont les politiques d'equite sont interpretees et demontre les effets nefastes qu'elles peuvent avoir sur les personnes qu'elles supposent soutenir.

INTRODUCTION

Canada has one of the most culturally diverse populations in the world, and the province of Ontario is home to more than half of the nations "visible minorities" (Ontario Ministry of Finance 2006). The term "visible minority" is federally used to describe "persons, other than aboriginal peoples, who are non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour" (Department of Justice Canada 2013). While there were over 200 different ethnicities reported by respondents to the 2006 national Census, the five most commonly mentioned were South Asians (12%), Chinese (11.4%), Black (8.4%), Filipino (4.1%) and Latin American (2.6%) (Statistics Canada 2007). Additionally, Canada's "visible minority" population is growing much faster than its total population. With such strong global presences, it is important to ask how to respond to the growing diversity in our communities. …

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