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Da Costa, black history and inclusiveness in Canada

I have high regard for President Barack Hussein Obama. His ascent to the presidency was a magnificent moment in history. As an African-American citizen with a Canadian family, it was a particularly poignant moment for me to actually have been in the U.S. to vote for him.

The Obama campaign for the presidency offered much to admire and learn from. But a very significant aspect of President Obama's victory was his vision for the United States, which was primarily one of inclusiveness. His plea was, and after his second State of the Union address essentially remains, that the fulfillment of a nation's destiny can only be achieved by harnessing the potential of all its people, not just a select few or elite. Whatever else his problems may be, we can learn a lot from this.


You have no idea what Martin Luther King did. True or False?

Photo: wikimedia commons

This will be a very short diary. It will not contain any links or any scholarly references. It is about a very narrow topic, from a very personal, subjective perspective.

The topic at hand is what Martin Luther King actually did, what it was that he actually accomplished.  


Discussing shadeism with Nayani Thiyagarajah

Photo: flickr/indianfilipino
Jeannine M. Pitas recently sat down with 'Shadeism' director Nayani Thiyagarajah to why discrimination based on skin tone is so harmful.

Related story:

Resisting shadeism: An interview with Nayani Thiyagarajah

Photo: flickr/indianfilipino

In spring 2010, a group of Ryerson University students made a short documentary, Shadeism, for a class project. Within weeks of sharing online, it received thousands of views and hundreds of responses.

The film discusses shadeism -- discrimination based on skin tone within a given community. Bringing together diasporic women from Toronto's South Asian, African, Caribbean and South American communities, it provides insight into a discrimination that exists throughout the world but goes largely unreported. Now, director Nayani Thiyagarajah and her colleagues are in post-production for a feature length documentary, Shadeism: Digging Deeper, intended for release in 2015.


| February 25, 2014
| February 20, 2014

Black History Month Lesson Plans

Are you a teacher, childcare provider, or community leader? Do you plan lessons or have a group of children or young people in your care? This month is a great time to focus your teachings or programming on Black History Month.

The National Education Association has a great selection of materials to use in your lessons, anywhere from kindergarten to the end of high school. It’s important for students to know about black history and if we are going to operate within a system that names one month to be “Black History Month” – we might as well make sure we used it to the fullest advantage!


Why we need to rethink Black History Month

Photo: wikimedia commons

I am frustrated with Black History Month (Mois de l'histoire des Noirs) this year. I feel overwhelmed by the newspaper features, TV specials, artworks and concerts in "celebration" of black history. And, as a black woman of Jamaican parentage, and a scholar of Canadian history, I find myself questioning the direction Black History Month is going. Even though it is recognized on a national level, it has remained a series of local events and remembrances, and I'm wondering, how did we get here and is it time to rethink Black History Month?


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