The “Equity Waltz” in Canada: Whiteness and the informal realities of racism in education
Canada has long perceived itself to be a country in which multiculturalism, and a concomitant respect for diversity, is a unique and defining feature of its identity. Although Canada is a de facto multicultural country, owing to its rapidly evolving demography and the explicit notion of multiculturalism enshrined in its Constitution, there remains a plethora of problems and issues related to equity, diversity and human rights. This paper explores the context and impact of racism in education within a framework that acknowledges and critically positions the predominance of Whiteness. The salience of identity, therefore, is a primary consideration to understanding how marginalized groups face systemic barriers in education. The concluding analysis sheds light on the educational policy process, and focuses on the notion of accountability for anti-racism and social justice in education within a time of neoliberal reforms. The paper is critical of the lack of attention, resources and comprehensive plans in place to ensure that all students benefit from a more holistic education that includes a focus on social justice.