Toronto’s ‘All-Black’ school…what would Martin Luther King say?

Canada’s first-ever all-black school received the go-ahead from Toronto public school board trustees and I am still not sure where I sit on the issue.

Proponents of the concept say it will help empower students and it’s about self-determination. Opponents say the concept smacks of segregation. I should add, I have seen and had conversations with people of many ethnicities that are on both sides of this fence. The school is slated to open September 2009.

Personally, I covered 15 homicides in the north Rexdale community of Mount Olive-Jamestown during my time at Etobicoke Life. Every victim was a young black male and every story helped me understand a little more the issues facing black youth. I covered countless community initiatives to help stop the violence and connect with youth; I even sat in on some community workshops to help. I can understand how an all-black school/black-focused curriculum could help reach out to black youth, empower them, improve graduation rates (four in 10 Caribbean-born students in T.O dropout)  and help them feel proud of their great heritage and history.

On the flip side, I think about Toronto and Canada and what makes it so great. The fact we are so inclusive and have been so tolerant of each other for so long seems possibly threatened by this concept. Also, how will one school serve a black student body of 30,000 in Toronto? Eventually, black youth will have to integrate, work and communicate with general society, so what happens then? May be the concept will work in Toronto and Canada because “we are so inclusive”. Also, something does need to be done, because the current system is failing.

I keep thinking back to the great Martin Luther King and these excerpts from his fabulous I Have a Dream speech:

“I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character”


“I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor’s lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers.”

Sure, his incredible speech was at a time in American history when racial strife was its highest, but don’t his concepts and values still speak true today? If not anymore, why shouldn’t they?

Click here for our last post on this subject because the school has been established and is in operation.


6 thoughts on “Toronto’s ‘All-Black’ school…what would Martin Luther King say?

  1. Jeff Taylor

    I think it’s a great idea, segregation in schools. The flawed theory of diversified schools is that minorities will somehow become smarter when sitting next to a white student.. This of course hasn’t quite worked. What needs to be brought to the foreground is the learning capacity of minorities in general, not the teaching method. If we are all truly equal then minorities shouldn’t need special attention should they?

  2. whit

    i personally think its a win and lose situation because yes, an all black school where you can be yourself and not have to compare to white people but i also disagree cause this isn’t what martin luther fought for and you can’t run away and isolate from segregation because it’s life. We need to associate with each other no matter what. So we need to accept ourselves and stop comparing to other.s

  3. greenlovin

    I feel as though this school may seem like a good idea right now, but in the long run we may be creating a bigger problem. In no way I am undermining the seriousness of the treatment of minorities through out the world, but I feel that in Canada times have changed. Not to say that we shouldn’t enable people to practice their religion and enjoy and preserve their culture, but segregation in school is not the way.

    I mean being able to go to school and be influenced by so many cultures has made me who I am and I wouldn’t have the friends that I have if we all had to be segregated. With segregation will come lack of acceptance for other cultures by all sides (due to a lack of understanding). What would happen to our multicultural committee, black history month, south east asian month and so on in schools …these are just some of the many amazing celebrations of others cultures and their hardships that enable everyone to learn about each other . That is what I love and miss about Toronto, the plethora of culture and the knowledge that comes from it. We should all be sharing our culture and knowledge not segregating ourselves from one another.

    1. Slim-Bo

      I agree with Sam! This is Sooooo damn racist! Are blacks better then whites? Are whites better then blacks? Are we not supposed to be all equal? If us “White Folk” opened up an All White School, That would start World World III! This is insane, and I can’t believe this passed! Sounds like were taking a step back, instead of moving forward! And Toronto wonders why people laugh at them! What a disgrace!!!

      While were at it, are we going to start up a United Caucasian College Fund!?

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