Some Oakwood Collegiate students warn that opening a proposed Africentric high school there could rebrand it as a largely “black school” and discourage others from attending, reducing its cultural mix.
“Unfortunately, some people are racist and I know for a fact a friend who's Asian, whose parents wouldn't send them to a school that's unofficially labelled as black,” said Grade 11 student Matteo Ferrero-Wong, who is of Chinese and Italian descent.
Senior Toronto school board staff scrambled to do damage control Monday at Oakwood, where student panic over a proposal to open an Africentric alternative high school in part of the building has sparked a Facebook petition with some 320 names as well as brief rumours of a wildcat student strike.
The petition can be found here and judging from the names it appears there is a white/Asian coalition against the idea.
The reason given for converting part of Oakwood C.I. into an Africentric school is to address the 40% drop out rate for black students who constitute 40% of a student body where 60% are non-white. The implication is that the high drop-out rate for blacks is an institutional failure, not a failure of the homes who produce these underachievers. Since I can never recall a time where the black community accepted responsibility for its short comings, choosing instead to avert blame by pointing their fingers at everyone around them, it's only understandable society's institutions are at fault and need correction. But I digress.
Ferrero-Wong's friend, Fadzai Masvosva, is black and from Zimbabwe.
Masvosva agrees an Africentric alternative school “would make the school less diverse because more of the black students would stay and the white and Asian kids' parents would send them somewhere else. Some people say if the population is more black, it makes some people feel less safe.”
Macleans Magazine took heat for its "too Asian" issue a while back from Canada's Asian population. The insinuation was that Canada's "too Asian" university campuses do more to drive students away than attract them. I have personal experience with this.
I once took a tour of the University of Toronto's main downtown campus. In my small tour group of about six individuals there were three young white Brazilian women who were in Toronto at the time to participate in an English immersion program. At the end of the tour our student guide asked us what we thought of the school. One of the Brazilian women spoke frankly and said, in her laboured English, she liked the campus but there were too many Asians at U of T (I kid you not!). Her frankness made me smile but our guide, who was a white male, didn't know how to respond and therefore didn't.
In another instance I was at the offices of The Varsity, a student run newspaper at U of T. I was waiting to speak with someone and was looking around the operation which was empty and quite at the time save for a conversation that was happening in a small adjacent room. Pinned to a wall at someone's desk was a newspaper clipping that quoted the then president of the university. He was quoted as saying, and I'm paraphrasing, that many white students skip U of T, choosing to go to Queen's or elsewhere, due to its sizable non-white student body. The clipping hung there to out white male bigotry but the man was just speaking truthfully and meant no offense. But his words still say much.
Funny, then, to see Asian parents threatening to remove their kids from a school were it to be considered "too black". It seems "too Asian" is okay but "too black" is not.
What is happening at Oakwood C.I. has been repeated in neighbourhoods all across Toronto and the surrounding area. Any neighbourhood that has lost its white majority status has become less appealing to everyone except to those who share the racial background of the new majority. When a neighbourhood goes Asian, it drives everyone out who is not while attracting those who are. When a neighbourhood goes Indian, it drives everyone out while attracting only those who are. This is how the balkanization of Toronto is being accomplished. The only neighbourhoods that consistently attract those of all racial backgrounds, especially Asian, are white majority neighbourhoods. These are the ones that are held up as "proof" that multiculturalism works but as more and more non-whites move in, the more whites move out to other white majority neighbourhoods leaving the one they left behind to become another ethnic ghetto.
It appears racial minorities are more comfortable in a "too white" environment than any other save one where they are the dominant. One has to wonder how attractive Canada will be were it to become "too Asian", "too black", "too Indian", etc. Will Asians immigrate to a non-white Hispanic/black majority United States, or just to the white majority parts of it? Will Asians immigrate to Canada or just the Asian and white parts of it? Canada's white majority status is an asset to attracting immigrants from all over the world. I don't see much value in losing it.