B.C. can benefit from its own anti-racism education bill

Ontario introduced a bill that will require education institutions to review their racial equity

The Center Block and the Peace Tower in Parliament Hill, Ottawa, Canada. (@shutter_stock) (Contributor:Maurizio De Mattei)

The Center Block and the Peace Tower in Parliament Hill, Ottawa, Canada. (@shutter_stock) (Contributor:Maurizio De Mattei)

Racism is a blight that needs to be removed from society. Allowing it to continue as individual bigotry or historically and systemically-driven institutions slowly degrades civilization from within while empowering elements that would benefit from exploiting such attitudes. Like many other problems that plague our world, the best solution is shockingly simple: education.

Ideally, everyone should be educated because we never truly stop learning even well into adulthood.However, it’s clear that not everybody is as open-minded as I would hope and unless something deeply and personally profound happens to someone who has prejudiced views, the odds are not in favour of them changing their minds through scholarly lectures.

As cynical as this may sound, it’s unfortunately true. Some people are perfectly comfortable wallowing in ignorance, uninterested in learning the error of their ways.

The saying goes that the best solution to a problem is to nip it in the bud. In December, such a proposition was introduced in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario by the NDP MP for Kitchener Centre, Laura Mae Lindo. Bill 67 intends to enshrine anti-racism provisions all throughout Ontario’s education system from kindergarten to university.

Measures include legally defining racism and anti-racism, having schools create and regularly review racial equity plans, training faculty in racial equity, offering resources for victims of and witnesses to racism, and setting punishments for perpetrators of racist language and actions.

Bill 67 is comprehensive in its desire to proactively stamp out racial prejudice and bigotry from the upcoming generation of Ontarians. While the bill is likely to face opposition from the ruling Tory majority and reactionary backlash from those aforementioned societal elements, it is still a sincere gesture to improve society. British Columbia can greatly benefit by adopting its own iteration of Bill 67.

In July of 2021, a virtual education roundtable hosted by the provincial government discussed what anti-racism should look like in B.C. education. Featuring speakers like respective presidents of various education and awareness organizations, the roundtable focused on “working with teachers and community partners to create an inventory of K-12 anti-racism and diverse cultural experiences, learning and teaching resources with a particular focus on the B.C. context.”

By taking expert opinion into account, these anti-racism initiatives are shown to be carefully constructed as opposed to the caricature of ham-fisted and totalitarian “woke” laws that will violate freedom of expression.

Employing anti-racist measures in schools is not anything close to brainwashing or “anti-white” propaganda that supposedly exists behind every proposition against race-based biases.

What we are dealing with are people ensuring that any person within the education system who has been affected by racism has the means to express their grievances, hold those responsible for incidents accountable, and — arguably the most important factor in all of this — teach students that racism is harmful. A notion that should not be seen as controversial, yet seems to be in the eyes of some.

No matter your political stripes, believing that we live in a post-racial paradise flies in the face of reality.

Let the next generation be better than us. Let them learn the follies of human thinking and steer clear those same pitfalls. If we want society to be truly equitable in a manner that comes from a place of good faith, then B.C.’s Legislative Assembly should consider passing its own anti-racism bill.