Why Now: Education and Systemic Racism

Dr. Carl James
Friday, October 30, 2020 - 1:00pm to 3:30pm


Session Objectives:

  1. Increase understanding of the here and now as it relates to anti-Indigenous, anti-Black and systemic racism
  2. Identify strategies to interrupt systemic racism in the learning and working environment
  3. Concretize strategies for critical, decolonialized and effective allyship

Carl E. James holds the Jean Augustine Chair in Education, Community and Diaspora in the Faculty of Education at York University. He is Professor in the Faculty of Education and holds cross-appointments in the Graduate Programs in Sociology, Social and Political Thought, and Social Work. He is also the university’s Affirmative Action, Equity and Inclusivity Officer, and was the Director of the York Centre on Education & Community (2008-2016) which he founded and Director of the Graduate Program in Sociology (2007-2008). He was one of six Advisors to the Ontario Minister of Education and Premier (2017-2018).

James is widely recognized for his research contributions in the areas of intersectionality of race, ethnicity, gender, class and citizenship as they shape identification/identity; the ways in which accessible and equitable opportunities in education and employment account for the lived experiences marginalized community members; and the complementary and contradictory nature of sports in the schooling and educational attainments of racialized students. In advocating on education for change, James documents the struggles, contradictions and paradoxes in the experiences of racialized students at all levels of the education system. In doing so, he seeks to address and move us beyond the essentialist, generalized and homogenizing discourses that account for the representation and achievements of racialized people in educational institutions, workplaces, and society generally.

Elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada – Academy of Social Sciences (2012), James’ outstanding work and leadership in equity and social justice is also demonstrated in the number of distinguished visiting lecturer positions he has held in universities in Canada, Australia and Sweden. His contributions to social equity and anti-racism education earned him an honorary doctorate from Uppsala University, Sweden, where he was a visiting Course Director from 1997-2013 in the Teacher Training Department. A former youth worker and community worker, he is known for his mentorship of students and colleagues; and is the recipient of many community and teaching awards, among them: Graduate Faculty Teaching Award (2017), York University; Black History Month Recognition, City of Markham (2014); Harry Jerome Professional Excellence Award, Black Business & Professional Association (2013); African Canadian Achievement Award (Education), Pride News Magazine (2009); William P. Hubbard Award for Race Relations, City of Toronto (2008), New Pioneer Award, Skills for Change (2006).

His publications include the foundational text, Seeing Ourselves: Exploring Race, Ethnicity and Identity (2012), which is now in its Fourth Edition. Other publications include The Equity Myth: Racialization and Indigeneity at Canadian Universities authored with F. Henry, E. Dua, A. Kobayashi, P. Li, H. Ramos, M.S. Smith (2017); Life at the Intersection: Community, Class and Schooling (2012); Jamaica in the Canadian Experience: A Multiculturalizing Presence with Andrea Davis (2012); and Race in Play: The Socio-Cultural Worlds of Student Athletes (2005).