The Grumpy Giraffe

Critiques on social and education issues

Segregation schools: first blacks, now gays

It’s hard to live under the Liberal regime in Ontario, particularly when it keeps spouting ideas that don’t seem very liberal or progressive to begin with.

First off, we had the africentric schools. They’re schools designated to isolate academically struggling Black kids with a curriculum that focuses more on Black people’s contributions in the world. The goal is that more Black kids will pass school because they’ll be able to relate to their Black people-centered curriculum.

Then Fan Wu pops up and decides we should have a queer-centric school: a school that consists solely of LGBT people.

Obviously, the new thing this decade is segregation.

The goals of this initiative are similar, and actually, there’s already an alternative school called the Triangle Program, which has very similar intentions of queer-centric schools. Some LGBT members said that this school “saved their lives”, so it is obvious that it is helpful in some way.

Fan Wu wants a queer-focused curriculum, where students would be “opening up discussion in every math class to questions of sexuality, absolute openness.”

Social justice should be important, but talking about sexuality in math class? There’s a difference between incorporation and plain slamming something where it doesn’t belong. This is one of those moments where he’s just trying to jam a square peg into a circular hole.

There are bigger problems to queer-centric schools than just throwing the wrong pegs into the wrong holes.

As one student of the Triangle Program stated, the program was “a shelter, a bubble”, which is correct. Yes, you’re going to have this school where all students are LGBT, and everyone’s best buds with each other, but the implication of this is that it also creates an us versus them attitude. As if the troubling chasm between LGBT and the dominant heterosexual community isn’t already big enough. As if we need another reminder that, hey, you’re different!

Another problem is quite an obvious product of living a bubble life: what happens when you slip back into dominant culture? Wouldn’t the shock be even worse because you’ve lived in a bubble during the most sensitive years of your life? Reality hits hard; dominant culture isn’t queer-centric.

This type of initiative isn’t revolutionary. It’s backwards.

The problem africentric schools and queer-centric schools are trying to deconstruct is the acceptance of differences. Why are we targeting manifestations of a problem? Why are we not snipping it off at the root, aka the logical thing to do?

Respect and diversity are what these schools are trying to resolve in a society that is harsh on anyone different. Instead of isolating the marginalized members of our society in one single place (as if they aren’t already emotionally marginalized, now they need to be physically marginalized too), we should be thinking about how to instill respect as a core value. How can we internalize respect into our future generation? Our current generation? Our past generation?

So no, I don’t agree with these schools that decide to lump everyone facing the same social problem into one location. They’re already socially marginalized, we don’t need them to be physically marginalized as well.

And we actually have the audacity to boast of our toleration of differences.



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This entry was posted on October 2, 2012 by in education, politics, school, society and tagged , , , , .


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