The term “critical race theory” (CRT) is now cited as the basis of all diversity and inclusion efforts by experts in the field. It’s an approach to dealing with a history of Colonial supremacy that discards the idea that what’s in the past belongs in the past.
There was a rather poignant meme I saw the other day. It said when we think of students completing school we think of graduates, but when we think of residential school students we think of survivors.
Canada’s representation for incorporation of immigrants is not the melting pot, but the mosaic — brightly coloured bits of ethnicity, culture, racial identity and language embedded side by side. Diversity should be embraced but it can’t be sustained if everything is incorporated into the melting pot.
Despite the rich diversity that is Canada, there have been failures in our social fabric that were left by oppression, violence, and inequities in our history. Some examples are:
- effects of colonialism and residential schools on Canada’s Indigenous peoples
- historical unequal treatment of women
- the impact of racist immigration and other polices
- the internment of ordinary ethnically diverse Canadians as enemies during the First and Second World Wars
- the struggle for inclusion among various groups seeking equal treatment under the law, including Canadians of differing abilities and diverse sexual orientations
The information about this destructive and oppressive period in Canada’s history has not been a part of the educational system and curriculum until recently.
Based on what is happening in Canada and across the globe this discussion is even more prevalent today. From the discovery of the graves on past residential schools sites, the harassment of those of Asian descent during the pandemic, to the BLM movement, it shows the need to keep learning.
So, after all that, my answer to your question is that I believe we can’t ignore our history and I firmly believe we need to recognize our past and learn from it.