by Habiba Cooper Diallo


by Habiba Cooper Diallo


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A firsthand account of systemic anti-Black racism in Canadian schools

The prevalence of anti-Black racism and its many faces, from racial profiling to police brutality, in North America is indisputable. How do we stop racist ideas and violence if the very foundation of our society is built upon white supremacy? How do we end systemic racism if the majority do not experience it or question its existence? Do our schools instill children with the ideals of equality and tolerance, or do they reinforce differences and teach children of colour that they don’t belong?

#BlackInSchool is Habiba Cooper Diallo’s high school journal, in which she documents, processes, and resists the systemic racism, microaggressions, stereotypes, and outright racism she experienced in Canada’s education system.

Powerful and eye-opening, Cooper Diallo illustrates how our schools reinforce rather than erode racism: the handcuffing and frisking of students of colour by police at school, one-dimensional, tokenistic curricula of Black people, and the constant barrage of overt racism from students and staff alike. She shows how systemic racism works, how it alienates and seeks to destroys a child’s sense of self. She shows how our institutions work to erase the lived experiences of Black youth and tries to erase Black youth themselves.

Cooper Diallo’s words will resonate with some, but should shock, appall, and animate a great many more into action towards a society that is truly equitable for all.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780889778184
Publisher: University of Regina Press
Publication date: 09/04/2021
Pages: 122
Sales rank: 669,569
Product dimensions: 4.90(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Habiba Cooper Diallo was a finalist in the 2020 Bristol Short Story Prize, the 2019 Writers’ Union of Canada Short Prose Competition, and the 2018 London Book Fair Pitch Competition. Habiba lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and is an advocate and activist in support of women’s maternal health.

Table of Contents

Foreword: Narrating the Black Body in High Schools: Put Your Ears to the Ground and Listen! Dr. Awad Ibrahim ix

Acknowledgements xiii

Introduction xv

Part I

#BlackInSchool 3

#HighSchoolAndTheBlackBody 6

#ToBeABlackStudent 10

"That English class was f*cked!" 13

The Worst Countries to Live In Are Uganda, Sudan, and Congo 15

#OnRacismAgain 21

Part II

Pon di Dancehall 25

#EquatorPeople 27

Bouna Traore and Zyed Benna: #MortsPourRien 31

"Light people cannot survive in Africa" #BiologyClass 34

#BiologyClassAgain 37

#Guidance 38

"I said it is my business deh" 41

On Posters in School 43

A Walk for Water #CognitiveDissonance 46

On School Spirit Days 50

#ElevatorUseAgain 52

Just Another Reflection About School 54

The Grad House Incident 56

Appreciate the Unfortunate 66

Black Students: An Economy Overlooked 69

"Tu viens d'où?" 73

Epistemic Violence Through Selected Texts for English Courses 75

Obstetric Fistula: A Black Woman's Burden? 77

On Remembrance Day Assemblies 81

#MyEmailToTheMinister 84

Part III

On Wearing the Rente Sash 91

My ib Graduation and the Black Burden 93

On the Edge: A Black Girl's Pursuit of Quality Hair Care 98

"I don't think there will be anything for us" 102

On the "Fist Pump" 105

On the Name Game 107

Graduation deh! #BeingAWarrior 108

The Academic Elite 111

Social Entrepreneurship and Black Youth 116

#Legacies 121

#MikeBrown #Ferguson #Halifax 126


I Am Done deh! 131

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