An educator in Halifax has spoken up and said he believes that the school board should consider opening and all-black school in the district. (Read about his idea here.) The Vice Principal at Halifax's St. Patrick's High School, Wade Smith, says that not enough is being done to encourage black youth to succeed in their schooling and to provide an environment that supports black students' culture and history. Mr. Smith's suggestion has raised controversy, and is unpopular with many white citizens of the area. The main criticism is that an Afro-centric school is inherently racist, and that segregating black and white students would lead to an inability for black students to cope in the "real world" after graduation.I fully disagree with this line of argument. I whole-heartedly support Mr. Smith's suggestion of an all-black school. It wouldn't mean all black students in HRM would be forced to go (that's not even geographically possible). It doesn't mean segregation, and it certainly shouldn't be viewed as a negative. Mr. Smith's suggestion is no different than establishing Francophone schools, which this province has already done, and is no different than the longstanding tradition of Catholic schools – Ontario still has a separate Catholic school system to this day. The majority of black students in the HRM live in areas where the majority of their neighbours are also black (North and East Preston, North Dartmouth, and Central Halifax, for example), and there already is one school that is all-black, by default, in North Preston (an elementary school), which has a higher percentage of black staff and emphasizes black culture. I think that culture is an important thing, and that a school dedicated to encouraging and supporting black culture would be very empowering to those students. Seeing role models who look like them may help students understand that it is possible to overcome racism and reach your goals. And I believe that nurturing self-esteem and a sense of heritage and social identity would actually give black students more of an edge in the "real world", as they might be more able to stand up to racist stereotypes and have a more solid foundation rooted in culture and personal relationships with mentors from their own backgrounds. Respecting culture isn't enough – culture must be nurtured, fostered, and encouraged in order to be maintained. Assimilation into the "mainstream" is not the answer, and it is not the Canadian way.
So, what do you think – segregation or solidarity?