More Examples of Systemic Racism

Below are a few more examples of systemic racism. 


School curricula claims to be ‘inclusive' and ‘representative', and there have been some significant improvements in curricula development and delivery in recent decades. However, these shifts towards ‘inclusiveness' are often problematic, resulting in a lack of engagement/participation of Indigenous students and students of colour because:

  • The foundational perspective from which the curricula is developed is still white, middle-class, Western. For example, the story of ‘Canada' remains a white peoples' story-but now, with Indigenous people and people of colour ‘added" in. The voices/perspectives of marginalized communities-their own experiences of this place--are not heard directly, because the story is still told by predominantly white curriculum developers, speaking ‘for' these communities. This applies most ‘obviously' to Social Studies, History, and so on, but also to Math and Science, which are "Western/European" based. The curriculum/teachers do not recognize that every culture in the world has its own history of ‘mathematics' and ‘science,' even if not articulated in Western terms.

  • Teacher education does not involve anti-racism education in any way that is meaningful for the students and teachers who experience racism daily, or for white students and teachers who want to participate in anti-racism/social justice. What work is done is at the surface level, and ignores historical and current power imbalances-including, in the classroom. (See The Problems with Multicultural/Diversity Approaches.)

Hiring and Advancement Practices

While many businesses and corporations have ‘diversity' policies,  and many individuals in these workplaces do want a more representative work force, many businesses and corporations are still predominantly white. (One need only to look at the photos in any Business Section of a city newspaper to see this.) Why is this the case?

People (okay, white people) tend to feel more comfortable with people who talk and act most like themselves, and because of this institutions and systems tend to reproduce themselves in ways that perpetuate the staus quo.

Currently, many companies are using the concept of "fit" in hiring practices. "Fit" refers to how a person is perceived as ‘fitting in to' and ‘contributing to' an existing workplace. It is discouraging, but perhaps not surprising, then, that white employers will, generally, see white applicants (with white, middle-class perspectives), as a better fit  than,a person of colour whose first language is not English.

Access to Sports/Recreation

Organized hockey, from Minor Hockey to the NHL, is predominantly white (and still male). There is no explicit policy that excludes people of colour and Indigenous people from participating in organized hockey, yet there are few players of colour/Indigenous players. What is it that keeps organized hockey ‘white'?

Playing hockey is expensive (fees and gear), time consuming for families,  requires transportation and an accommodating work schedule, and in Alberta is conducted  in English. While there is no ‘intent' to exclude non-English speaking, lower-income,  shift-working, single-parent families from playing organized hockey, the system is designed by and for middle-class, professional white families.