The hazards of segregation

(Canscene) — It’s time for adults to learn how to distinguish between political correctness and cultural sensitivity. Too often, under the expedient of political correctness, foolhardy decisions will be made in the hope that a given problem will just “go away.”

The knee-jerk reaction of the Halton Catholic School Board to a single complaint about the “atheism” of the author of the Golden Compass series of children’s books resulted in them being removed from school libraries.

Last month, which happened to be Black History Month, the Toronto District School Board voted to establish an experimental school for Black students by the end of next year.

It’s true there were many more than just one advocate for such a school but the board’s blind acceptance of the experimental school without due study and discourse is of the same cloth as the Halton incident.

In the first place, it is widely known that the Government of Ontario will not fund special schools of a religious or ethnic nature, yet the Toronto Board went ahead and called a vote on the subject.

As yet we do not know the proposed optimum size of an experimental all-black school nor of the benchmarks for judging its success.

Whatever the size it obviously will not come near to the institutional capacity to cope with all the students who comprise the 40 percent dropout rate for Black students.

What would be the time frame for assessment of the project? Even were the experimental school to prove highly successful what would be happening in the meantime to the 40 percent in the rest of he Black community?

Meanwhile, the entire Black community, including graduates still faces a reluctance by employers, arbitrary checks by police and gang pressures.

There’s no denying that segregation, whether imposed or voluntary sets people apart. By accepting what they believe to be an “easy” solution the Toronto District School Board has shown total lack of realism. And in any form of segregation, aren’t we laying ourselves open to the closet racists who’re always ready to use insinuation and innuendo without coming right out in the open.

Better to have thought out the situation now than to face the inevitable conflict of ideas that will emerge.

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