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African-centred multicultural art education : an alternative curriculum and pedagogy Adu-Poku, Samuel 2002

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AFRICAN-CENTRED MULTICULTURAL ART EDUCATION: AN ALTERNATIVE CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY by  SAMUEL ADU-POKU B A . (Art), The University o f Science & Technology, Kumasi, Ghana, 1987 D . A . E . , The University o f Science & Technology, Kumasi, Ghana, 1989 M . E d . , The University o f N e w Brunswick, 1995  A THESIS S U B M I T T E D IN P A R T I A L F U L F I L M E N T O F THE REQUIREMENTS FOR T H E D E G R E E OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY  in THE F A C U L T Y OF G R A D U A T E STUDIES (Department o f Curriculum Studies) (Art Education)  W e accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA January, 2002 © Samuel Adu-Poku, 2002  In  presenting  degree  at the  this  thesis  in  University of  partial  fulfilment  of  of  department  this thesis for or  by  his  or  requirements  British Columbia, I agree that the  freely available for reference and study. I further copying  the  representatives.  an advanced  Library shall make it  agree that permission for extensive  scholarly purposes may be her  for  It  is  granted  by the  understood  that  head of copying  my or  publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission.  Department of The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada  Date  DE-6 (2/88)  ABSTRACT  This dissertation is a contribution to the debate over the centrality or marginality o f race and ethnicity in the production and dissemination o f knowledge. It calls for more broad-based knowledge and values that represent ethno-cultural diversity in Canada, with special reference to Black/AfricanCanadians. The study describes the development and implementation o f an African-centred A r t and Cultural Education Program ( A A C E P ) as an alternative curriculum and pedagogy. The A A C E P was developed in response to historical experiences o f Black/African-Canadians and research data that revealed systemic exclusion o f their artistic and cultural perspectives from mainstream curricula and general school organization. Three major questions relevant to art education, critical multicultural education and the educational experience o f Black/African-Canadians in Vancouver, British C o l u m b i a are considered: in what ways do school curricula, textbooks and general school organization affect Black/African-Canadian children's participation in visual art and general education; how do Black/African-Canadian students react to a community-based African-centred art and cultural education program; and what impact do the African-centred art and cultural learning experiences have on students in a multi-ethnic public elementary school. Data was generated through the implementation o f the A A C E P at the Multicultural F a m i l y  v  Centre ( M F C ) and an east Vancouver public school. The M F C is a community-based social service provider whose range o f services includes a program that fosters positive cultural awareness and increased self-esteem among Black youths in Vancouver. Evidence is based on two years o f participatory observation at the M F C and on a two-week art and cultural education workshop. Data was also obtained through interviews with Black/African-Canadian students and parents, M F C ' s cross-cultural facilitators, students from the east Vancouver school, an art teacher, and the school principal. The study is grounded in Africentric theory, critical education theory and ethnographic research. In response to the first primary question, this study identified seven issues that emerged from participants' perceptions o f the education system and its effects on Black/African-Canadian learners. These factors include curricula deficiency, racism and institutional barriers, lack o f relevant art and  Ill  cultural education models, inadequate background preparation o f teachers and exclusionary teacher recruitment practices, lack o f positive role models, inadequate family and community support and inadequate attention to gender issues. Second, findings from this investigation suggest that culturally relevant curriculum can provide effective means o f inducing positive attitudinal change and increased self-confidence among Black/African-Canadian students. This became evident through a review o f students' knowledge and views about the program, as well as their attitudes toward their own cultures and other cultural groups. In response to the third primary research question, this study concludes that positive inter-personal and inter-ethnic attitudes could be induced through multicultural art education that focuses on cross-cultural similarities. It was also revealed that the issue o f inclusive schooling transcends the calls for curricula and pedagogic reforms. It has socio-economic and political dimensions that raise wider public policy questions. Several conclusions and recommendations are made about multicultural education as it relates to art education, the education o f Black African-Canadians, and community-based education programs: 1) incorporation o f the experiences and perspectives o f Black/African-Canadians and people o f colour into mainstream curricula would be valuable for expanded knowledge and multicultural literacy o f all students; 2) multicultural art education provides a viable force for ethnic minority students to identify with their cultural heritages and develop their self-esteem; 3) community-centred education processes can provide important resources to facilitate multicultural art education programs in local public schools; and 4) multicultural education must move beyond cosmetic "relevance" to making curriculum and pedagogy genuinely transformative. A recommendation is made for further in-depth research o f ethnic groups o f students from real-life situations in community-based ethnic settings, and their interactions with school contexts, to build holistic theories o f multicultural education.  iv  TABLE OF CONTENTS  Abstract  ii  Table o f Contents  iv  List o f Figures  viii  List o f Tables  ix  Acknowledgements  x  CHAPTER I  INTRODUCTION  1  Statement o f the Problem.  1  Defining the Research Questions  II  10  Purpose o f the Study  11  Research Objectives  12  Research Questions  13  Significance o f the Study  13  Definition o f Terms  15  Personal Reflexivity  18  REVIEW OF L I T E R A T U R E The Socio-historical Context o f Black/African-Canadian Children's Education  ,  22 22  Historical Overview o f B l a c k Experience in Canada  22  The Black Pioneers o f British C o l u m b i a  25  The Struggle for Educational Equity  27  Identity Politics and Black Educational Experience  37  Explanations for Black Children's Educational Underachievement  40  The Promise o f Multicultural and Anti-racist Education  45  Conceptions o f Multicultural Education  49  Multicultural Policy in Canada  49  V  Defining Multicultural Education  52  Multiculturalism and A r t Education  57  Approaches to Multicultural A r t Education Discipline-Based A r t Education ( D B A E )  65  Multicultural Discipline-based A r t Education ( M D A E )  68  Post-modern Approaches to A r t Education  69  African A r t and Multicultural A r t Education  76  The African Cosmological Concept  80  Artistic Criticism and Aesthetics o f African A r t  82  Cross-cultural Functions o f A r t  84  AFRICENTRICITY A N D A R T EDUCATION  88 90  Critique o f Eurocentrism in A r t Education  90  Africentricity and Knowledge.  99  Ancient Egyptian and Nubian Civilizations: Symbolic Legacy o f Africa  99  The Africentric Paradigm  109  Africentricity, Centrism and Polycentrism  113  Philosophical Underpinnings o f Africentricity  115  Critique o f the Theoretical and Methodological Conception o f Africentricity  119  Summary o f Africentricity and A r t Education IV  73  African-centred Perspective on Gender and Multicultural Education.  Summary o f the Review o f Literature III  65  RESEARCH METHODOLOGY Research Method  122 124 124  Site and Context  128  Selection o f Participants  130  Data Collection  134  Data Interpretation from a Critical Multicultural Education Perspective  138  vi Summary o f the Research Methodology V  142  DESCRIPTION OF T H E A R T A N D C U L T U R A L C U R R I C U L U M IMPLEMENTATION PROCESS  VI  VII  143  Introduction  143  Curriculum Process  144  Rationale  145  Content Selection and Implementation  154  Scope Suggestion and Materials  155  Setting for the A r t and Cultural Workshop.  156  Profile o f Instructors for the African A r t and Cultural Education Program ( A A C E P )  156  Summary o f Description o f A r t and Cultural Curriculum Process  157  PERCEPTION OF T H E EDUCATION S Y S T E M  158  Curriculum Deficiency  160  Instructional Barriers: Racism, Discrimination, Stereotyping and M e d i a Bias  170  Multicultural Education and Africentric Knowledge  185  Lack o f Role Models  196  Teacher Preparation, Recruitment and Pedagogical Strategies  200  Parental Involvements and Community Participation.  208  Gender Issues  216  REACTIONS TO THE A F R I C A N A R T A N D C U L T U R A L EDUCATION P R O G R A M Responses o f Black/African-Canadian Students to the A A C E P  VIII  222 222  Review o f Students' Knowledge from the A A C E P  223  V i e w s about Program Facilitators and their Teaching Strategies  229  Exploring Cross-cultural Characteristics o f A r t  232  Specific Effects o f Participating in the Various Aspects o f A A C E P .  235  Responses o f Students from an East Vancouver Public School to the A A C E P  242  CONCLUSIONS:  IMPLICATIONS A N D RECOMMENDATIONS  ART EDUCATION  FOR 253  vii  Overview  253  Conclusions  254  7  The Challenges of Inclusive Education: Multicultural Curriculum and Pedagogy  254  A A C E P : A Journey Toward Cultural Awareness and Multiculturalism  258  Community-based Cultural Education Programs  261  Recommendations: Possible Approaches and Directions for Multicultural Education  262  Limitations and Future Study  267  REFERENCES  270  A P P E N D I X I: African Art and Cultural Education: An Integrated Unit  286  APPENDIX II: Interview Guide  308  A P P E N D I X III: Parent/Guardian Consent Form  315  viii LIST OF FIGURES FIGURE 2.1  Bronze Plaque o f O b a (King) o f B e n i n , Nigeria (1600 C . E . ) ( A Member o f the 1897 British Punitive Expedition)  30  2.2  T w o Bronze Heads from the Y o r u b a K i n g d o m o f Ife, Nigeria (1100-1600 C . E . )  31  2.3 2.4  Ivory Saltcellar from Edo o f Benin, Nigeria (in the British Museum) Necklace o f 108 pieces o f G o l d from Ashanti People, Ghana (in the British Museum)  32 33  2.5  M a p o f North East A f r i c a Showing Egypt and Ancient N u b i a  61  2.6  M a p o f Ancient African Kingdoms Showing O l d Ghana, M a l i and Songhai  2.7  M a p o f Africa Showing the Various Countries  63  2.8  Head o f the Great Sphinx (Akhet Khufu) and a Pyramid (2590 B . C . E . )  74  2.9  The African Cosmological Concept.  81  3.1  Ancient Egyptian Linen Woven with Colourful Geometric Patterns and Strips Similar to the Ghanaian Kente Cloth (1550-1200 B . C . E . )  3.2  Pharaoh and Wife Before the Deity Anubis, G o d o f the Embalmers (1280 B . C . E . )  3.3  The Golden M a s k from the V a l l e y o f the Kings, Tomb o f Egyptian  . .62  100 101  Pharaoh Tutankhamum (1325 B . C . E . )  102  3.4  Pottery Vessels o f the Ancient Nubians (2000-1550 B . C . E . )  103  3.5  Shawbits from the Tomb o f Nubian K i n g Taharka (690-664 B . C . E . )  103  5.1  Kente Cloth, Ashanti People, Ghana  148  5.2  Mask, We People, Ivory Coast (Early 20th Century)  149  5.3  Mask, Mende People, Sende Society, Sierra Leone (Early 20th Century)  150  5.4  Mask, Lumbo People, Gabon (Late 19th Century)  151  5.5  Adinkra Graphic Symbols, Ashanti People, Ghana  152  5.6  Adinkra Cloth, Ashanti People, Ghana  153  6.1  Diagram o f Seven Themes, Representing Perceptions o f the Education System in British Columbia Sample o f Two-strip Kente W o v e n by a Student  159 226  7.1  LIST OF T A B L E S  TABLE 1.1  Immigrant Population to Canada by Regions of Birth Showing Periods of Immigration, 1996  .2  2.1  Visible Minority Population in Vancouver C M A , 1996  36  3.1  L. J. Myers'Distinctions Between Traditional African/Euro-Western Worldviews  4.1  Attendance Record of Black/African-Canadian Students for the African Art and  116  Cultural Education Program at the Multicultural Family Centre  135  4.2  Background Information of Black/African-Canadian Students  136  6.1  Background Information of Black/African-Canadian Parents/M.F.C. Cross-Cultural Facilitators Background Information of Students from an East Vancouver Elementary School.  161 243  7.1  ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS  I wish to acknowledge the efforts o f my mentors, Dr. Graeme Chalmers, Dr. Rita Irwin, Dr. r  Carol P. Christensen and M s . Yvonne Brown, who provided me with invaluable guidance and unceasing encouragement throughout the course o f this research. I particularly wish to express my deepest gratitude to Dr. Chalmers and D r . Irwin who guided me academically for years and have been my role models both personally and morally. Their warmth and kindness have made my years o f study in Canada fruitful and unforgettable. 1 am dedicating this dissertation to my parents, especially to the memory o f my mother, and to my beloved wife, Gifty A d u - P o k u , for her unconditional loyalty and encouragement. Without her support, I could not have completed this dissertation. To my children, Edmond, Ivan and Kwabena, I am thankful for their affection, patience and the positive social experience they added to my studies. I also would like to express my gratitude to the wonderful people at the Multicultural Family Centre for their support and contribution toward this study. Finally, I am indebted to the students, parents and teachers who allowed me into their classrooms, homes and lives. For their willingness to share their experiences with me, I am extremely grateful.  1 CHAPTER ONE  INTRODUCTION Statement of the Problem Despite efforts toward inclusive education, recent studies reveal a disturbing trend o f cultural exclusion, racism and other discriminatory practices in multi-ethnic Canadian classrooms (Alladin, 1996; Black Learners Advisory Committee ( B L A C ) , 1994; D e i , 1996; Hamilton, 1997, Kinsella, 1994). While the need for effective multicultural education pedagogy intensifies, Eurocentrism in art education and concerted attacks on multiculturalism (e.g., Bissoondath, 1994; McCarthy & Crichlow, 1993) are inhibiting potentially effective approaches to educational equity in Canada. The debate over content in art education in Canada and the United States is well documented in the literature o f the last three decades. This debate is centred primarily on the concerns for more broad-based knowledge and values that represent ethno-cultural diversity in Canadian/American society. Some art educators (Blandy & Congdon, 1987; Chalmers, 1978; Feldman, 1982; Hamblen, 1987; M c F e e & Degge, 1977) argue that students need tools to recognize, appreciate and cope with the plethora o f cultural forms and expressions that a multicultural society generates. A r t education involves both the education o f artists and education o f people about art and its relationship to society. The study o f art as a social phenomenon has become the driving force o f the notable works o f these scholars. Recent statistics in Canada (Statistics Canada, 1996) project that Blacks, third largest visible minority group in Canada in 1991, are expected to become the second largest group by 2016. O f this, a significant proportion is expected to originate from Continental Africa. V i s i b l e minorities w i l l account for one in five Canadians, doubling from 10% in 1991 to 20% in 2016. A s Table 1.1 shows, atotal o f 4,971,090 immigrants lived in Canada by the 1996 Census, out o f which some 1,611,795 (or 32.5%) were from Asian-Pacific countries. In total 1,027,220 (or 20.7%) immigrants came from Central and South America, Africa and the Caribbean. Given the changing face o f Canada, and the increasing ethno-cultural diversity in its classrooms, there is the need to re-examine school curricula, textbooks and teaching methodologies to meet the needs o f ethnic minorities that form the mosaic o f Canadian society.  2  Table 1.1  Immigrants Population* to Canada by Region of Birth Showing Periods of Immigration, 1996 Region  Total  Before '61  1961-'70  1971-'80  1981-'90  1991-'96**  Africa  229,305  4,945  25,685  58,150  64,265  76,200  USA  244,695  45,050  50,200  74,015  46,407  29,025  C'tral & S. America Caribbean  273,815  6,370  17,410  67,470  106,320  76,335  279,405  8,390  45,270  96,025  72,405'  57,313  UK  655,535  265,580  168,140  132,950  63,445  25,420  Other N & W. Europe Eastern Europe S. Europe  514,320  284,205  90,495  59,850  48,095  31,705  445,385  175,430  40,855  32,280  111,370  87,900  714,383  228,145  244,380  131,620  57,785  52,455  W. Asia & M . East Eastern Asia  210,855  4,975  15,165  30,980  77,685  82,050  589,415  20,555  38,865  104,940  172,715  252,340  S.E. Asia  408,980  2,485  14,040  111,700  162,490  118,265  Southern Asia  353,520  4,565  28,875  80,755  99,270  140,055  Oceanea & Others Total  49,025  4,250  9,240  15,420  10,240  9,875  4,971,090  1,054,945  788,590  996,155  1,092,400  1,039,000  * Non-permanent residents are not included. ** Includes first five months o f 1996. Source: Statistics Canada, 1996 Census National Table  3  Multicultural education, however, should neither be conceptualized as a demographic issue nor as a field focusing solely on people o f colour. Its importance is grounded on the fact that the field explores broader issues o f educational and social significance in relation to ethnicity, race, class, gender and exceptionality and the interaction o f these variables (Banks, 1993; Grant & Sleeter, 1993). In this study, my interest was situated mainly in the area o f multicultural art education and the dynamics o f race and ethnicity. Notwithstanding, the study was inextricably interwoven with the embedded inequalities that flow from gender disparities. The goal o f this study was to present an African-centred approach to art and multicultural education as an alternative curriculum and pedagogy. Race plays a significant mediating force in schooling in North America. For Black/African-Canadian youths, research has repeatedly indicated their educational disadvantage in multicultural Canadian society. Children whose ethnic and cultural histories do not coincide with the Eurocentric, middle-class and mainstream standard are often mis-educated or are culturally excluded from full participation in education. Studies by the Black Learners Advisory Council ( B L A C , 1994), the Canadian Alliance o f Black Educators ( C A B E , 1992) and the Ontario Royal Commission on Learning ( R C O L , 1994) highlight an alarming "dropout" rate in their discussions about "crises among Black youths" with respect to "education and achievement." Textbooks, art curricula, classroom practices and the structural processes o f schooling have become targets o f multicultural education reform efforts. Many educators (Banks, 1995; DePillars, 1990; Grant, 1992; Nieto, 1996; Parry, 1974; Pieterse, 1992) charge that the portrayal o f Blacks and other people o f colour in reading materials, historical textbooks and in Western popular culture has been biased, racist, inaccurate and destructive to the welfare o f students o f colour. A r t history and art education have also been neglectful o f the artistic traditions o f minority students, as well as the diverse cultural, ethnic, contextual and historical content that contribute to a more accurate and comprehensive art education for all students (Banks, 1993, 1992; Chalmers, 1987, 1996; DePillars, 1990; Fehr, 1993; M c F e e & Degge, 1980). Since decisions about content inclusion and exclusion are crucial to what students would have the opportunity to learn, it is important that educators continually examine the content and form o f instructional materials.  4 The foundations o f art history, art education, art museum education and the entire art establishment are replete with Eurocentrism and patriarchal attitudes, values and ideals. For nearly two decades since Discipline-Based A r t Education ( D B A E ) was introduced in North A m e r i c a (Greer, 1984), art educators reiterate that its Eurocentric content and formalist methodologies continue to reinforce elitism, gender bias, ethno-cultural stereotypes and the notion o f the "universality o f art" (Chalmers, 1996; Collins & Sandell, 1988, 1992; Fehr, 1993; Garber, 1995; Hagaman, 1990; Hicks, 1992; Zimmerman, 1990). A s an approach to art curriculum, D B A E embraces the four domains o f art study. It focuses on the development o f abilities o f students and teachers: 1) to make art (production); 2) to interpret and analyze art (criticism); 3) to know art's role in the past and contemporary culture (history); and 4) to discuss questions about the nature o f art and make informed judgements about it (aesthetics). A s an outgrowth o f the aesthetic education movement, D B A E initially embraced the elitist and Eurocentric male discourse o f art hierarchies (high-art/low-art, or men's art/women's art). Until the emergence o f postmodernism, feminism and the multicultural movement, curricula in art history and art education were hardly challenged for their inherent ethnocentrism and for silencing multiple voices and perspectives. DePillars (1990) addresses Eurocentrism in art education by asking whether educational institutions are ready for multiculturalism. H i s question is grounded on a review o f art historical texts (e.g., Gardner, 1959; Janson, 1971) and art curricula which, he maintains, have systematically mis-educated future art educators through the omission and distortion o f facts regarding the art and civilization o f nonEuropean populations and their descendants in the diaspora. Despite repeated theoretical pronouncements from leading art educators aimed at broadening the curriculum, art education remains primarily Eurocentric, revealing hypocrisy and prejudice o f educators. L i k e DePillars, Ransaw (1990) reviews the depiction o f Black people in the past 300 years o f paintings by European masters. She notes that, generally, Blacks were never depicted in a respectful manner; they were either ignored, depicted as kind and gentle servants or, as threatening to the Whites. DePillars (1990) asserts that "the dis-Africanization o f history and culture . . . is the antithesis o f multiculturalism" (p. 121). Multiculturalists assert that education, to have integrity, must begin with the proposition that all humans have contributed to world development and the flow o f knowledge and information and that most  5 human achievements are the result o f mutually interactive international efforts (Asante, 1991). For the sake o f equity in education, multiculturalists reiterate the need for inclusive and comprehensive curricula that would mutually benefit all shades o f students represented in our classrooms. In order to prevent the psychological and cultural dislocation o f ethnic minorities, the educational systems in Canada should address the oppressive aspects o f school curricula. The infusion o f multiculturalism in art curricula w i l l enable art teachers to connect with all students and provide students the opportunity to express themselves in their own unique ways. In the United States, Dobbs (1989) explains that the reluctance to address the philosophical bias in curriculum choices stems from the training, experiences, values and backgrounds o f professionals in the art disciplines, which have largely been shaped by Eurocentric and modernist perspectives. Most o f Canada's teaching force is also caught up in the same dilemmas leading to the victimization o f Black/African-Canadians and other visible minorities. This situation does not only undermine attempts to reconceptualize curricula and teacher education toward a multicultural agenda, but also makes it difficult for many art educators to cease viewing European culture and art as universal, and to consider the possibilities o f other artistic traditions, culturalrealities or, indeed, shared realities. Besides, those art educators who are genuinely interested in infusing multicultural objectives into the art curriculum may not have a clear understanding o f multicultural education: how it is defined; how it is being practised; its possible sources o f content and pedagogy; its tension points and places; its effects on students' attitudes and self-concepts; and what such an infusion means for a curriculum field. These questions and analyses present a great challenge to educators who are ideologically predisposed to particular cultural traditions and/or who are generally unprepared to work in such tension-ridden and contested terrain. A clear understanding o f multicultural education issues is particularly important to consider in art education because most art teachers have substantial, i f not total, autonomy in the areas o f curriculum planning and implementation. Multicultural education calls for a thorough examination o f existing curricula in order to ensure that information and perspectives not considered in the past w i l l indeed be considered. Included in this call is the demand for reforms in teacher education programs to ensure that future teachers are fully equipped with the necessary tools to function in multicultural educational settings. Daniel (1996) questions  6 the effectiveness o f school curricula and pedagogy that assume that cultural harmony can be achieved by avoiding discussions about diversity and difference. Daniel suggests that it is imperative for educators to strive for balanced curricula in a multicultural environment in order to achieve a more inclusive education. This study raises critical curricula issues that would challenge art educators, teachers, teacher educators, school boards and decision makers to move beyond their comfort zones in order to tackle the issue o f multiculturalism in education. Critics contend that the disciplines o f art education must not simply be modified to include minorities and feminist concerns, but must be re-constructed to provide epistemological equality within art (Collins & Sandell, 1992; Hagaman, 1990; Hicks, 1992; hooks, 1990; Huber, 1987; Garber, 1990, 1995). This implies that art educators must scrutinize the grounds o f knowledge claims in the art o f diverse cultures, focusing particularly on historical accounts o f imbalances and how and why they were created. While such insightful criticisms have helped to bring the issues o f cultural diversity in art to the forefront, they fall short o f informing educational practitioners, particularly teachers and community-based educators, in very practical terms, about how to deal specifically with the increasing ethno-cultural diversity in Canadian classrooms and with the educational problems and issues encountered by children o f African descent living in multiethnic/multiracial Canada. Liberal multiculturalism or "uncritical" multiculturalism focuses on equal opportunity by masking existing unequal playing fields or structural inequities. They avoid sensitive issues or the forces that continue to create and perpetuate social inequities. Culture is presented in the abstract, divorced from the history and socio-economic realities that shape our identity and behaviour. Critical multiculturalism, on the other hand, focuses on collective experience o f marginalized groups. It empowers schools and students to address issues o f racism and the imbalance o f power in the production, distribution and dissemination o f knowledge. It provides a scaffold for the full expression o f all forms o f artistic talents. It requires teachers and educators who w i l l seek the appropriate centrality for Black/African immigrant students in the classroom and "rupture the established concepts, paradigms and content o f the conventional school curriculum" (Dei, 1996, p. 103) that sustain educational inequity and Black students' underachievement. This research w i l l assist teachers not only to create environments that w i l l foster positive inter-group  7 attitudes but also materials that could close the cultural and information gaps in order to assist children o f African parentage or ancestry to locate their identity and space within a multicultural Canadian society. It aims at helping art educators to integrate the artistic, historical and cultural knowledge o f Black/AfricanCanadians who have been left in the margins o f the visual arts curricula. For many Canadians, research in terms o f race is still largely an unsettling issue. Y e t much o f the available research data demonstrates significant differences that Black/African-Canadians and other minority youths experience in Canadian education systems (Alladin, 1995; B L A C , 1994; Brathwaite, 1989; Carby, 1986; Cheng, 1995; D e i , Mazzuca, M c l s a a c & Zine, 1997). Raising alarm about the oppressive aspects o f school curricula and historical inequity in Canadian education systems does not nullify the positive changes that have taken place in ethnic and race relations in this country during the last four decades. Instead, it is intended to show that while much has been achieved, more remains to be done (given the existing "vertical mosaic" in Canada) in order to achieve educational equity. It must be 1  acknowledged that there are many people in the Euro-Canadian American educational systems that are doing their utmost, in various capacities, to promote inclusive education and educational equity. Despite progress in the educational systems and in race relations, institutional and structural discrimination has persisted. The slogan, "celebrating diversity" often glosses over the realities o f a "vertical mosaic" behind a rhetorical smokescreen and a facade o f good intensions. The areas in education that critically need reform to reflect Canada's multicultural policy include the issues o f curricula choices, pedagogy, teacher recruitment, teacher education and representation in school textbooks. However, many educators and administrators have shown persistent resistance to change. It must be made clear that any criticism in this study is directed, for the most part, at the educational systems and social practices and not at the purposeful intent o f specific individuals. M y objective is not to blame, but rather to achieve a holistic understanding o f Black/African-Canadian artistic and educational experience in order to recommend appropriate alternatives that would meet students' needs.  'This term is often traced to John Porter who applied it in the argument that ethnic/racial affiliation and immigration are important determinant of social class in Canada, and that visible minorities tend to be at the lower ranks regardless of their educational training and qualifications. See Porter, J. (1965). Vertical Mosaic. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.  8  Multicultural education, in this study is conceptualized to encompass  anti-racist education and  critical pedagogy. This concept is represented in Nieto's (1996) Affirming Diversity: It entails a direct challenge to the societal power structure that has historically subordinated certain groups and rationalized the educational failure o f these groups as being the result o f their inherent deficiencies. Multicultural education as conceptualized here challenges all educators to make the schools a force for social justice in our society, (p. x v i ) V i e w e d in these terms, the construct is rescued from the perception that it concerns itself only with the production o f the passive consciousness o f culture divorced from societal power relations. From the right, critics o f Canadian multiculturalism argue that the legitimization o f cultures and traditions other than those o f the dominant group constitutes a real threat to national unity (e.g., Bissoondath, 1994; Porter, 1972) and this is mitigated by a plea for "Canadianism," a version o f the "melting pot" idea. This argument however, is grounded on an illusive assumption that Canada has been historically and sociologically united. The fact that the nation was already sharply divided along the lines o f class, gender and ethnicity (i.e., English, French, East Europeans, Asians, First Nations and Blacks) before the advent o f multiculturalism is conveniently ignored. A l s o ignored are: the contradiction between our national democratic ideology and the pervasive inequities in the distribution o f knowledge, power and social justice; the failure o f the educational systems to equitably educate children across race, ethnic, class and gender lines; and the fact that multiculturalism offers a more realistic and egalitarian vision o f social relations. In fact, Canadian multiculturalism seeks ways to unite the country based on mutual respect for the cultural agency o f all its peoples. Therefore, what is disuniting Canada is exclusion and hate, not multiculturalism. The incisive analyses o f both Chalmers' (1996)  Celebrating Pluralism and N i e t o ' s (1996) Affirming Diversity make  very clear that monocultural education ill prepares students to function in a democratic/pluralistic society and in an employment market that is increasingly oriented toward cultural diversity. Supporters o f multicultural education argue that "multicultural literacy" (the knowledge, attitudes and skills needed to function in a diverse world) is essential for students to operate effectively in the "global village" during this new century. Baldwin (1986) therefore argues that multiculturalism cannot be reduced to an exclusive "otherness" that references "minorities" as either a problem to be resolved, through benevolent assimilation, or as a threat to be policed and eliminated.  9 This study addresses multicultural education from a critical perspective with emphasis on "Africentricity." It engenders the understanding o f African art and culture from an African-centred 2  perspective. Africentricity means placing African ideals at the centre o f our approach to problem solving and any analysis that involves African culture and behaviours (Asante, 1987). The underlying assumption in this study is that students o f African descent are placed in a stronger position to learn i f they are situated at the centre rather than at the margins o f school curricula and pedagogy. In other words, children o f African descent cannot truly know their potentialities i f they continue to exist in a borrowed space; they must gain their own cultural spaces, in order to achieve the necessary transformation to participate fully in a multicultural society. Africentricity is grounded on the assumption that there are multiple centres o f culture, knowledge and history and that no single group can claim a centre stage except in the context o f incomplete description. The Africentric theory posits that all reality is in unity, and that each group or culture constitutes its own centre, but these "polycentres" coalesce to form a whole. A holistic education connects and builds on these multiple-centres o f knowledge. Africentrists locate students within the context o f their own cultural references so that they can relate socially and psychologically to school curricula and other cultural perspectives. A person educated in a truly centric fashion comes to view all groups' contributions as significant and useful for understanding our world. It must be stressed, however, that non-hegemonic discourses (such as African-centred, Asia-centred and critical pedagogies) do not necessarily represent a dichotomy between Eurocentric and alternative worldviews. African-centred ideas and tenets are not n o v e l o r distinct to African culture and the theoretical discourse. Africentric paradigm emphasizes interdependency and a holistic approach to studying phenomena. Africentricity represents a range o f beliefs rather than a fixed ideology. B y emphasizing its liberatory character and inclusive models, this study attempts to avoid the tendency o f the concept becoming dogmatic and limiting. A knowledge o f African art and cultural heritage is essential not only for raising the cultural awareness o f Black students, but also for the promotion o f cultural understanding and positive inter-group  Although the term "Afrocentricity" has been used by many Black scholars including Asante (1988), who is credited for developing the Afrocentric paradigm, I view the term "Africentricity" as a more explicit concept that does not repeat the "Afro" prefix which has generated quite a lot of discussion among Americans of African descent. 2  10 relations among students o f diverse backgrounds. It is undeniable that culture is dynamic and that people must be open to new possibilities o f dynamism, moving and flowing. Yet, it is also important that people move and flow from some base rather than float in the air (Asante, 1998). It is my conviction that the educational systems can respond effectively to the diversity within and among all social groups i f there is  a priori understanding of the impact o f structural processes o f education on various groups. A l s o , many art teachers may be in a better position to respond positively to multicultural education i f they are exposed to alternative models, or have personal experiences in multicultural curricula and pedagogy. Teachers and students, who already have the understanding and experience o f multicultural education, represent the vanguard o f a new paradigm. They can bring colleagues and students into action with multicultural education, so that changes in beliefs, ideology and motivations can follow.  Defining the Research Questions The journey to my dissertation research began through my volunteer experience as an African art instructor to some high schools and community groups in N e w Brunswick and British Columbia as well as through the expertise I have acquired in multicultural education research as a doctoral student. Despite efforts toward inclusive education, personal experience and current research reveal a disturbing trend o f cultural exclusion and other discriminatory practices in multi-ethnic Canadian classrooms (Dei, 1996; Hamilton, 1997). While several reports have been produced on ethnic minorities, there remains a dearth o f research on the education o f African-Canadians in British Columbia leaving no research underpinnings for meaningful policy formulation. M y dissertation aims at bridging these gaps, while promoting inter-group harmony among students o f diverse cultural backgrounds and collaboration between family, community and school. In Vancouver, I have had a long-term voluntary experience with African-Canadian children at the Multicultural Family Centre ( M F C ) located in the heart o f east Vancouver. The M F C is a communitybased social service provider with a wide range o f programs, support and services aimed at improving access to health care and social services for immigrant and refugee communities in Vancouver and its surrounding districts. The Centre's services to the African community include the African children's program which fosters positive cultural identity and increase self-confidence in academic and social  11  abilities among Black children and youths. After working with the children and youths for some time, I began to identify with their problems and concerns, particularly with regard to the conflicts o f values that some o f them experience between the home and school cultures. I also became concerned about the cultural discontinuity and marginalization o f the children's cultural heritage in school. Following this, 1 expressed to the M F C staff and the members o f my dissertation committee a desire to conduct a study about the African children's art and cultural activities at the M F C and their educational realities in the public school classroom. The parents, the M F C staff and members o f my committee responded favourably to my proposal by providing insightful suggestions, which helped in the formulation o f this research. I became committed to learning how to facilitate a collaborative research process with the school, the home and the Black/African-Canadian community. M y research questions and objectives thus evolved through my encounter with the African-Canadian community at the M F C .  Purpose o f the Study M y study develops and implements a community-based model o f an African-centred multicultural art education as an alternative curriculum and pedagogy. It has two main purposes. Firstly, as a backdrop to the development o f the curriculum, I identify and examine the cultural and educational barriers to Black/African-Canadian students' participation and attainment in education and their implications for multicultural education policy in Canada, with special reference to Vancouver. A major reason why multicultural education has been criticized as the production o f passive consciousness o f culture (Banks, 1992; Giroux, 1993; Solomon & Levine-Rasky, 1996) and subject to different interpretations is that the construct has not been adequately grounded in a causal analysis o f school failure among subordinated group students (Nieto, 1996). Understanding the socio-political realities o f Black/African-Canadian children's educational experience in multiethnic/multiracial Canada is therefore crucial for any effective educational policies sympathetic to their needs. Secondly, I investigate the effects o f a collaborative "African-centred" multicultural art curriculum on: (1) Black students' attitudes and self-concepts as they unfold at the M F C and (2) inter-group relations among students o f diverse backgrounds in a multi-ethnic elementary school art classroom in east  12  Vancouver, British Columbia. This multidisciplinary curriculum unit integrates hands-on art activities with knowledge of Africa's geography, Oral Tradition and history. This is accomplished through deliberations with my network of participants - an art teacher, African-Canadian parents from the M F C and two M F C Cross-cultural Facilitators serving as an advisory team. As part of the study, I document the process of doing community-based participatory research as it unfolds with the curriculum advisory team. Community-based participatory research suggests a way in which communities without socio-political power can use research to support their struggle for self-determination by gaining control of information that can influence decisions regarding their lives (Bopp & Bopp, 1985; Stull & Schensul, 1987). An African-centred approach to multicultural art curriculum is among many possible ways to illustrate multicentric education (Dei, 1996). A collaborative approach to a multicultural art curriculum with an infusion of Africentricity demonstrates a practical example of an inclusive education that transforms, rather than provides an appendage to, the curriculum. Primary issues include the conceptualization of multicultural education and Africentricity as relevant educational philosophies and pedagogies. Africentric methodology or Africology, particularly as described by Asante (1990), best serves this research. This methodology promises to deliver voices that have been previously shut out of normative educational research. Africology eclectically embraces liberationist tenets of critical ethnography and feminist research. It enables me to situate African art and culture at the centre rather than the periphery of multicultural education research.  Research Objectives The objectives of the study are to: 1.  Identify and examine the artistic, cultural and educational experience of Black/African-Canadian children in Greater Vancouver, Canada.  2.  Evaluate the impact of an African-centred multicultural art program on Black/African-Canadian learners.  3.  Identify ways by which the Black community can work with schools to broaden the curricula to embrace multicultural art education, with particular reference to Africentric art and culture.  13  4.  Foster understanding o f African art and culture and, thereby, promote healthy inter-group relations among students o f diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds.  5.  Document the process o f doing community-based participatory research, including its strengths and obstacles.  Research Questions The following questions were addressed in the study: 1.  In what ways do school curricula, textbooks and the general school organization influence Black/African-Canadian children's participation and attainment in art and education?  2.  What content and teaching methodology is appropriate for an African-centred multicultural art curriculum?  3.  H o w do Black/African-Canadian children react to the African A r t and Cultural Education Project at the Multicultural Family Centre?  4.  What is the impact o f an African-centred multicultural art program on children at a multi-ethnic elementary school in Vancouver, British Columbia?  5.  What is the process and nature o f doing community-based participatory research as it unfolds with teachers, parents, African community members and M F C facilitators?  Significance o f the Study Multicultural education in the past has often been superficial and has presented culture as divorced from societal power relations; this has continued to reinforce ethno-cultural stereotypes. Advocates o f multicultural and anti-racism education (Dei, 1996; Stuhr, Petrovich-Mwaniki & Wasson, 1992) demand that art educators look beyond the celebration o f heroes and holidays and develop curriculum and readings to transform, rather than add on to, the curriculum. This research is significant in that it provides an example o f how educators can integrate the art, literature, history, culture, language, resistance and philosophy o f the peoples who have been left in the margins o f the curriculum. I emphasize  "polycentrism" as an inclusive ideology that connects African knowledge with other forms o f knowledge to achieve cultural pluralism and effective multiculturalism. This is based on the assumption that there are multiple centres o f culture and knowledge that are relevant to multicultural education. The curriculum model presented in this study allows Black/African-Canadians to respond to the cultural and artistic needs of their children that are being neglected in the formal school system. It looks beyond current curriculum practices with their top-down approach, to suggest an exciting and innovative grassroots model o f partnership among the community, family and school in the delivery o f multicultural education. Research on education systems that marginalize subordinate groups demonstrates that changes rarely come from within, without the support o f external forces ( B L A C , 1994). This explains the critical importance o f a bottom-up approach to dealing with issues affecting the needs o f the Black/African-Canadian community. The active and direct involvement o f those most concerned with the education o f Black learners (i.e., parents, the community, teachers and Black/African-Canadiah students) is a key to successful implementation o f any program directed to their needs. Top-down policy that dictates classroom action is perceived as a challenge to teachers' personal sensibilities and an affront to their professional autonomy (Solomon & Levine-Rasky, 1994; Troyna, 1993). The research provides an opportunity for understanding: (1) how parents, the community and the school can collectively mediate against the conflicts o f values or cultural maladjustment experienced by some Black/African-Canadian children as they strive to situate their identities within home and school cultures; (2) how identity-based knowledge is constructed, disseminated and how it affects Black students, as well as the cross-cultural learning o f non-African students; and (3) the effectiveness o f collaboration as a pragmatic approach to multicultural education and research. Collaboration in multicultural education enables parents and other stakeholders to have some input regarding what their children/students learn. B y having a choice, parents become more committed to the school than they would be had the school and curriculum been assigned. This study fosters cultural understanding among students o f diverse ethnic backgrounds, thereby promoting healthy inter-group relations. These insights present serious implications not only for art education but also for multicultural education as a whole. This research is a wake-up call for schools and educators to re-examine current approaches to multicultural education and to be receptive to alternative non-hegemonic approaches, both  15 within and beyond academia, that may contribute to a more comprehensive and equitable education. A s this study extends the debate over the centrality or marginality o f ethnicity in the production and dissemination o f knowledge, my findings w i l l enable a re-examination o f assumptions in provincial and district multicultural education policies. Therefore, it is hoped that the study w i l l be useful to relevant branches o f the ministries responsible for Multiculturalism and Education and Training (e.g., multicultural and immigrant service organizations, curriculum and policy development, community and education outreach and anti-racism) and school boards in British Columbia.  Definition of Terms Black: In this study, " B l a c k " refers to dark-skinned and mulatto people o f African descent. Obviously some African immigrants (e.g., White South Africans, Indo-Ugandan, Indo-Tanzanians; and North African Arabs) do not fall into this category; also, African-Canadians are not always immigrants in the very modern use o f the term since some have long historical roots in Canada. Because o f the disparaging connotation often associated with the term " B l a c k , " some authors try to avoid its use and use terms such as Afro-Canadians or African-Canadians. Ethnic identity politics in places such as United States and Canada has resulted in many scholars with ancestry in Africa preferring to be called African-Americans and African-Canadians respectively instead o f " B l a c k s . " Historically in the United States, people o f African descent have been referred to, over the years, as Negroes, Afro-Americans, Blacks and African-Americans. W h i l e " B l a c k " may be, admittedly, distasteful in some o f its English and other language usage, we cannot shy away from it, for as far as Black/Africans are concerned; skin colour overrides most attributes o f their human individuality in Canadian society.  Culture: Culture can be understood as the ever-changing values, traditions, social and political relationships and worldview created and shared by a group o f people bound together by a combination o f factors that can include a common history, geographic location, language, social class and/or religion and how these are transformed by those who share them. Thus, it includes not only tangibles such as food, holidays, dress and artistic expression, but also less tangible manifestations such as communication style, attitudes, values and family relationships.  Diaspora: The concept o f "diaspora" (from the Greek  diaspeirein, to scatter) has traditionally been applied  to the dispersion o f the Jews after the conquests o f Palestine and is roughly linked with exile or bondage o f people originally belonging to one nation or having a common culture. Accordingly, it  16 is often remarked that the forces, which have mostly driven Black-Africans abroad (i.e., slavery, Western colonialism, cultural imperialism and capitalism) are not unlike those that scattered the Jews. The concept o f the African (Black) diaspora is a metaphor that can serve as a useful guiding thread for substantive analysis o f dispersed Africans outside the continent in Europe, the Americas and the rest o f the world. African diaspora in Euro-Western societies cannot be fully understood apart from political, historical and structural legacies o f slavery and imperialism. It must be noted however, that many Africans were dispersed globally by choice, through adventure, for economic reasons and to seek knowledge long before European contact with the N e w World and their inauguration o f the trade in human cargo.  Ethnicity/Ethnic Origin: For the purpose o f this study, "Ethnicity" refers to socially selected cultural (rather than biological or physical) attributes which people employ to describe themselves and which others, in turn, use to describe them.  Eurocentrism: It is an ideology or body o f myths, symbols, ideas and practices that exclusively or predominantly values the worldview, existence and cultural manifestations (e.g., history, politics, art, language, music, literature, technology, economics, etc.) o f people o f European origin and that devalues and subordinates the cultural manifestations o f people from all other lands o f origin.  Hegemony: A process o f domination whereby the ruling class is said to exercise political control through its intellectual and moral leadership over allied classes (Bocock, 1986).  Lower Mainland: This includes the cities/municipalities o f Vancouver, Burnaby, Richmond, N e w Westminster, North Vancouver City and District, West Vancouver, Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, Langley City and District, Surrey, White Rock, Delta, Coquitlam, Port Coquilam and Port M o o d y . For variety, the term Greater Vancouver is used interchangeably with the Lower Mainland in this study.  Multiculturalism: The term first came into vogue in Canada during the 1960s to counter "biculturalism," a term popularized by the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism. It has, to a considerable extent, replaced the term cultural "pluralism," although that term is still favoured in Quebec. Multiculturalism is used in at least three senses: to refer to a society that is characterized by ethnic or cultural heterogeneity; to refer to an ideal o f equality and mutual respect among a population's ethnic or cultural groups; and to refer to government policy proclaimed by the Canadian government in 1971 and subsequently by a number o f provinces.  17 Prejudice and Discrimination: Ethnic and racial prejudice usually refers to an unsubstantiated negative prejudgement o f individuals or groups because o f their ethnicity, race, or religion. Discrimination is the exclusion o f individuals or groups from full participation in society because o f their ethnicity, race or religion. Prejudice (an attitude) and discrimination (behaviour) are usually linked, but are distinct phenomena. In a vicious cycle, prejudice frequently leads to discriminatory behaviour while discrimination reinforces or creates social and economic inequalities that then reinforce prejudices.  Race: There are some disagreements among scholars over the meaning and existence o f race. In this study "race" refers to the distinction o f human population based on "socially perceived" physical traits (e.g., phenotype, skin colour, hair texture). These attributes are not intrinsically meaningful in view o f overwhelming evidence in support o f one human race from the standpoint o f biology. But over time, people have given these attributes qualities that have become entrenched. Race is here seen as a social construct, arguably a social myth.  Racism: The disagreement among scholars over the meaning o f "race" does not extend to its derivative, racism. It refers to the doctrine that some races are innately superior or inferior to others. Because racism indiscriminately includes groupings such as religious sects, linguistic groups and cultural groups under its concept o f "race," it can be regarded as a virulent form o f ethnocentrism (the belief that one's own ethnic group is superior to others). Racism is based on the assumption that organic, genetically transmitted differences between human groups are intrinsically related to the presence or absence o f certain social, psychological or cultural traits o f that group. It is also predicted on the false assumption that human beings are naturally and permanently comprised o f separate, pure races (e.g., Mongoloid, Caucasoid) and that the physical, mental and cultural qualities o f each group are determined by its supposed genetic constitution. Individual racism is a belief by one individual about another person's "racial" inferiority. Institutional racism exists when the political, economic and social institutions o f a society operate to the detriment o f a specific individual or group in a society because o f their alleged genetic makeup. Cultural racism is the expression o f the superiority o f a socially defined race's culture over that o f another race.  Visible Minority: Following the  Canada Employment Equity Act, visible minorities are "persons, other  than Aboriginal people, who are non-Caucasian in race or non-White in colour." Specifically, the A c t identifies the following groups as visible minorities: Blacks, Chinese, South Asians, Arabs and West Asians, Filipinos, Southeast Asians, Latin Americans, Japanese, Koreans and Pacific Islanders.  18  Personal Reflexivity Personal reflexivity involves providing details about the researcher's personal investment in the study and in making explicit the assumptions that guide the research. Patti Lather (1991) argues that personal reflexivity is crucial when doing openly value-based inquiry. This study is openly ideological because it deals with the debate over the centrality or marginality o f race, ethnicity and culture in the production and dissemination o f knowledge. 1 entered this research fully aware that my personal location and investment has a significant bearing on the research process, including how data is gathered and treated. According to Hunt (1992), researchers' intentions, perceptions and actions must be included in the research process because they are the "most powerful and sensitive means for recording and interpreting our research" (p. 116). For a multicultural education research, the issues o f race, ethnicity, class, gender, culture, sexuality and other social peculiarities present a specific window for understanding and interpreting data. This is so because knowledge can be understood in relation to one's subject location, politics, desires and interests. 1 am not a disinterested party in relation to calls for multicultural art education and inclusive school curriculum in Canada. M y African cultural ancestry, historical background and lived experiences have informed and influenced my position on multicultural education in Euro-Canadian American contexts. M y social and political positions are relevant to this study because I have a stake in the success of Black/African-Canadian students. I could not pretend to be a fly on the wall or subscribe to a naturalistic discourse o f distance, neutrality and detached involvement in order to deal with my subjectivity. A s a critical ethnographer, I believe the passive observer rule could be another means o f colluding with unequal power relations in society. A s a parent o f three children and guardian o f an African-Canadian youth, I share a common experience and concern o f many African-Canadian parents over the challenges o f bringing up Black youths in Vancouver, Canada. Having survived a gang attack on my family, coupled with my numerous encounters with school authorities, the police and the courts o f law, 1 cannot pretend to be oblivious to the issues. I acknowledge that m y structural relations with participants, both as an "insider" and "outsider" influenced the kinds o f questions I asked and the responses I received, the things I observed and created blind spots for other ways o f being seen. M y cross-cultural experience  19 resonates familiar issues o f cultural alienation in the colonial and post-colonial education I have received in Ghana, my birthplace, as well as in Euro-Western education in Canada. A s I walk through my experiences as a student, a professional teacher, a graduate student and now on the verge o f becoming a professional art educator, I have learned that the educational system is mediated by power structures in society. A s a result, schooling neither provides young Black/African-Canadians with confidence and pride in their cultural heritage nor encourages their full participation in the education process. M y frustrations are not so much about what the post-colonial or Eurocentric curriculum have taught me, but with what was not taught. For instance, I have wondered recently why studying English Shakespearean literature was valued over African oral traditional poetry; why learning about the history o f the British empire was more relevant than learning about the history o f the empires o f Western Sudan or the Ashanti empire in Ghana; why learning about the European art masters was more important than being taught about traditional African craftspeople and their artefacts; and why the Western canons about art and design were privileged over the African aesthetics o f relative proportion. I also have to struggle with the fact that, in discussing issues o f multicultural art education and representation o f the "other," I have to employ the language o f those who hold positions o f power in society. The stripping away o f my native language and culture with the substitution o f English assimilation was done, obviously, for what were perceived to be good reasons improvement o f educational achievement and economic and social mobility. Nevertheless, I have come to know that loosing one's culture and language is an unnecessarily high price to pay for academic success and social acceptance. Evidence demonstrates that language differences per se are not necessarily barriers to learning. In fact, Nieto (1996) argues that the language and culture that children bring to school are assets that must be used in their education. Rather, the way in which teachers, schools and educational systems perceive native language may be even more crucial to a student's level o f achievement. Today, my immersion into academia may provide me some advantage as well as responsibilities. However, the contradiction that comes with this position is obvious. A s a Black African and a minority member o f Canadian society, my race and ethnicity intersects with my academic position to limit my access to the full benefits that come with my educational attainment. I share with many "others" the common historical experience o f the subjugation o f our existence through the devaluing and de-privileging  20 of our histories and ancestral knowledge within Euro-Canadian/American education systems. I further acknowledge that my social immersion into Eurocentrism, while culturally dis-empowering, paradoxically, becomes a source o f my educational and political empowerment. For instance, my heightened awareness o f power inequities within schools has come about because o f my participation in the academy. In the course o f my graduate studies, I was attracted to courses such as  Historical and Social Foundations ofArt  Education, Multiculturalism, Anti-racism and Education, Seminar on Women and Education, History of Race Relations and Multiculturalism in Canada and Curriculum Issues in Contemporary Art Education. These courses stimulated my intellectual interest in multicultural education and anti-racism education. They enabled me to begin to look at my world differently and be critical o f art education theory and practice, as well as the entire art establishment for its exclusionary practices. It was through my graduate courses that post-modern theories, critical theory, feminist theory, anti-racism theory, Africentric theory and many other theoretical paradigms became meaningful to me. I began to appreciate the need to appropriate my experience o f "difference" and "otherness" as a legitimate political ideology and to acknowledge the important connections between African ways o f knowing and other forms o f knowledge that are grounded in historical material experiences. Consequently, I became actively involved locally in multicultural art education and in raising people's consciousness about African art and culture as well as multicultural education issues. M y position o f "otherness" ironically, became my source o f empowerment. A s important as these factors were, they do not tell the whole story. W h i l e pursuing my graduate studies at University o f British Columbia, I had the good fortune o f having some progressive and open-minded professors in art education who were interested in minority issues and multicultural education. The issues I was concerned about they had been writing about years earlier; therefore, the congruence between their ideas and my interest was very close. M y encounter with some members o f the education faculty who were interested in minority education no doubt encouraged me to venture into this tension-ridden terrain. M y vision in this study was to unveil the ways in which students, particularly Black/African-Canadians, are victims o f the education system, rather than to act as a catalyst for the improved efficiency o f schools in their continuous victimization o f ethnic minorities. This study, therefore, is not a disinterested piece o f work; it grows out o f my passion for inclusive education and my desire to ensure that Black/African-  21 Canadians, like other cultural groups in Canada, are fairly treated and represented in knowledge production and dissemination. I am conscious o f limitations in Africentric and critical ethnographic interpretations. A t one point they are liberatory because they open doors to what has been previously hidden and undermine existing conventions o f representations; yet they can also be restrictive in the sense that they can appropriate the data to the researcher's interests, so that other significant elements may be silenced. Although what is documented is my interpretation o f what I heard and witnessed from participants, the strength o f the study lies in the careful accumulation and re-presentation o f evidence and in attention to reciprocity - the negotiation o f meaning with participants in the study. Throughout the study, I have made the effort to make reflexivity a fundamental theme. The pointed effort to reveal my own value perspectives and subjectivity situates my study within a critical ethnographic research tradition. However, I am conscious that this openness could make this study susceptible to criticisms.  22  CHAPTER TWO REVIEW OF LITERATURE  The Socio-historical Context of Black/African-Canadian Children's Education This chapter presents an overview o f literature related to Black/African-Canadian artistic and educational experience. It includes an overview o f theoretical work that attempts to identify, analyze and explain the barriers to Black children's participation and achievement in art and in education. The chapter looks at some definitions and approaches to multicultural education and how it is conceptualized in art education. Part o f the literature focuses on the American experience because more people are writing about education and the issues o f race, ethnicity, class and gender, which have longer history o f attention in the United States. It is also because multicultural education indicates similar patterns, themes and approaches in both Canada and the United States. The chapter also situates the study in an Africentric paradigm, drawing attention to African art and aesthetics as valid sources for multicultural art education.  Historical Overview o f Black Experience in Canada This section discusses the educational experiences o f Black/African-Canadians, past and present and their struggle for educational equity. I analyze some o f the causes o f educational underachievement, among Black/African students, which call for curriculum reform as a means o f addressing racial and ethno-cultural inequities. M a n y Black educational activists in Canada maintain that Blacks cannot know where they are heading until they know where they have been (i.e., their historical roots in Africa and in Canada) (Alexander & Glaze, 1996). A historical perspective is an essential component in the analysis o f any social situation and this is especially pertinent in the light o f Black/African-Canadian experience in Canada. Blacks, like the Chinese, Jews, Ukrainians, Japanese, Italians and Germans, have had a long history in Canada and North America. The earliest records show that Africans visited and inhabited North and South A m e r i c a long before European settlers "discovered" the " N e w W o r l d " ( V a n Sertima, 1976). Slavery became a familiar fact in early Canada just as it was in the United States. Although some Blacks  23 arrived as early as the 1600s as slaves, the majority came to Canada voluntarily as free Negroes, preferring the uncertainties o f pioneer life, to slavery in the United States or the West Indies. Most Black pioneer settlers in the 18th and 19th centuries settled in N o v a Scotia, N e w Brunswick, Ontario, the prairies and British Columbia. The Black presence became more visible following the abolition o f racial quotas in immigration in the 1960s that led to an influx o f non-White immigrants from developing countries (Whitaker, 1991). In addition, the 1976 Immigration Act, which initiated the establishment o f an inland refugee determination system, in line with the U N Convention for Refugees, also led to a substantial increase in the proportion o f immigrants and refugees from Africa, A s i a , Latin A m e r i c a and the Caribbean. Notwithstanding the long history and growing presence o f Blacks, Asians, First Nations Peoples and other visible minorities, Canada's education has continued to be dominated by Eurocentric curriculum, reflecting the cultural hegemony o f the British and French as "founding nations." Representation in art and art history has also been Eurocentric and discriminatory against African art and other non-Western art forms. While Euro-Western art is placed into the category o f high art or fine art, African art forms are classified as crafts or under folk art traditions giving the impression that the latter is inferior to the former. During the 18th and 19th centuries, Blacks were lured into Canada through promises (from Britain) o f freedom, justice, formal education and equality with their White counterparts. But they soon came up against racial attitudes similar to those found in the United States and from which they were fleeing. In fact, these rights had to be dearly won. Prior to the 1960s, official policies, written and unwritten, served to ensure that Black children would not integrate with Whites. Thus, racial discrimination and stereotypes o f past generations were reinforced (Boyko, 1997; Whitaker, 1991). The legacy o f race science and its colour scale theories which held great sway between the mid-nineteenth and twentieth centuries, continued to define social and educational policy as well as the relationship between White and non-Whites in Canada. Due to racial hostilities, many o f the pioneer Black settlers and their descendants returned to the United States following the American C i v i l War and the Reconstruction. Ironically, however, Canadian classrooms are devoid o f the story o f the inhuman treatment o f Africans and other visible minorities, o f how their dignity was stolen and their culture destroyed and o f how Africans resisted such treatment even i f it meant sacrificing their lives. A s a result, many Black children do not  24 know their people's story and neither do White children know the African Holocaust. Teaching about such a monstrous human brutality should forever remind the world o f the ways in which humans have often violated each other. Asante (1991) stresses that, without an understanding o f the historical experiences o f Black/Africans, schools cannot make any real headway in addressing their problems o f the present. Despite their consistent efforts to break into the vicious cycle o f discrimination through improved education, the Black leadership in Canada, unlike their counterpart in the United States, never attained a consensus over the issue o f school segregation and vocational training that often reinforced separation. Generally, they embraced the missionary curriculum with its hidden agenda and the notion that separate schooling could engender equal education. This situation persisted until the 1950s and long after Blacks in the United States, particularly in the North, had rejected the separate but equal formula in schooling. The Black newspapers in eastern and central Canada performed a useful role toward educating the Canadian Black community and toward the Black liberation struggle, particularly in the decades preceding and following the American C i v i l War o f 1861, but they made a minimal impact in addressing the problems o f educational inequities (Winks, 1997). This is particularly true o f the 1851 by Henry Bibb, and the  Voice of the Fugitive, established in  Provincial Freedman, established in 1853 by Samuel Ringgold Ward and  later edited by M a r y A n n Shadd, the first woman editor o f a Canadian newspaper (Walker & Thovaldson, 1979). The Black newspapers encountered numerous problems. A m o n g them were intense competition from English newspapers and from Black newspapers in the United States, the lack o f business support and patronage and the issue o f parochialism and small readership. But, perhaps what made the Black editors less visible during that period was their non-militant mainstream position on issues. B y remaining politically conservative, they missed the opportunity to challenge Canadians to tackle, head-on, sensitive and unsettling issues that were crucial to the survival o f the Black community. Canada, has for a long time, pursued a policy o f cultural assimilation o f its ethnic minority populations, yet at the same time, it has been less w i l l i n g to structurally integrate these groups into the socio-economic and political sectors o f the society. Denied full participation, the contribution o f Blacks and other minorities to nation building has been severely stifled. For the country to benefit fully from its large population o f immigrants, it w i l l be necessary to chart a new course by endorsing relevant plans,  25 policies, programs and interventions that w i l l enhance immigrants' educational success and contribution to the Canadian social, economic, cultural and political life.  The Black Pioneers o f British Columbia The story o f the Black pioneers o f British Columbia stands apart from the larger Black Canadian history. Blacks had played a key role in the formative years o f cities and towns in this province, particularly Victoria, Barkerville, Kamloops, Saltspring Island, Peace River Country and the Queen Charlotte Islands. But, unfortunately, they have been unrecognized. Historians have either distorted their history or presented them as minor curiosities o f the province's early days. The omission o f B l a c k s ' contribution from Canadian history reinforces a common myth that Black presence in Canada is a recent phenomenon. Recognition o f the early Black presence and contribution in the province shatters this myth. B y 1857, California was a "free" state, yet Blacks were subjected to increasing persecution and abuse o f their civil rights, prompting the movement o f more than 700 Blacks to Victoria (in the company of White Americans) to seek freedom and economic prospects during the gold rush o f 1858 (Walker, 1985). M a n y o f the Black pioneers were well educated. They had acquired various skills and professions in the United States and had brought with them adequate money and property to invest in British Columbia. The Black pioneers were tough, resourceful, aggressive, ambitious and integrated into mainstream society comprising British, Americans, French, Italians, Germans, Jews, Chinese and Indians ( K i l i a n , 1978). Unlike their counterparts in central Canada and the Maritimes (the fugitives and the Loyalists, some o f whom arrived as slaves) who encountered hostilities right from the onset, the Black pioneers received some level o f acceptance from Victoria's White population. The British and the first Governor o f British Columbia, James Douglas, who himself had Black ancestry, were particularly welcoming. Many Blacks settled in other parts o f Vancouver Island and established themselves as gold prospectors, merchants, restaurant operators, manual labourers, farmers, barbers, dentists, homesteaders, teachers, policemen, lawyers and journalists ( K i l i a n , 1978). Indeed, their achievements defied the logic o f racial essentialism and White stereotypes o f the time that characterized Blacks as unambitious, poorly educated, dependent and unqualified to associate as equals in the institutions o f white society.  26 In Victoria, M i f f l i n Wister Gibbs stood out as the representative o f the Black community. Twice, in 1866 and 1868, he was elected to serve on the Victoria City Council. He eventually became the council's financial controller. A t the time when White American residents o f British Columbia threatened a demand for annexation to the United States, the Black community formed the first militia unit - African Rifles - in 1860 to defend the colony against American encroachment. They also formed a fire brigade to begin fire-fighting service. In 1867, M i f f l i n Gibbs was a delegate for the Y a l e Convention where terms for British Columbia's entry into the Canadian Confederacy were defined. In 1885, a Barbadian Black named Seraphim Fortes arrived in Vancouver and established himself as a lifeguard on English Bay Beach, near Stanley Park. He is credited with more than a hundred daring rescues o f swimmers. A t his death, a fountain monument was built in his honour. The irony is that, like the Asians, Jews and Indians, Black pioneers were not fully accepted into white society. Despite the promise o f legal equality, discrimination and segregation found expression in the churches, schools, theatres, saloons, restaurants and other public facilities. Whites, especially Americans, often employed physical intimidation and violence to enforce these divisions. A t Saltspring for instance, Blacks were compelled to open a separate school for Black children. While certain individual Blacks achieved acceptance, there was a widespread feeling among Whites that Blacks must not mingle with the general society. White prejudice against Blacks was grounded in the legacy o f slavery, imperialism, race "science," and Eurocentrism, which gave credence to the notion of white supremacy. B y the 1870s, when the gold rush was over, the American C i v i l W a r had ended and slavery had been abolished, many Blacks found the United States to be economically more attractive than Vancouver Island and left for the United States. Walker (1985) noted that by the turn o f the century, Blacks were so thinly scattered across the province that they rarely came to public notice. The anxieties o f the white community were now firmly focused on the Asians - Chinese, Japanese and East Indians whose numbers, energy and "foreignness" alarmed the white society. Nevertheless, Blacks continued to encounter profound institutional discrimination in the areas o f housing, employment and education, even with their small population, but rarely was the discrimination publicized. From the 1920s, when the K u K l u x K l a n ( K K K ) established itself in British Columbia, there were  • 27 scattered incidents o f discrimination and violence against Blacks in the workplace and in housing. K i l i a n (1978) noted that the K K K fell back on anti-Oriental agitation due to the lack o f adequate Black targets. The Black pioneers had played a key role in the early years o f the colonies that became British C o l u m b i a and yet the province had forgotten them. A s K i l i a n rightly noted, "Fools, knaves and madmemhave given their names to British Columbia's streets and towns; the only monument to the Blacks is a drinking fountain dedicated to Joe Fortes, the lifeguard o f English Bay Beach" (p. 12). Until the 1960s, Black settlers in Canada continued to face widespread racial discrimination, segregation and hostilities, particularly in N o v a Scotia. African Blacks and other visible minorities were restricted access to Canada through a host o f exclusionary immigration regulations. It was only in 1962 that Canada replaced its racebased immigration policy with one that placed emphasis on educational and professional background o f immigrants. Nevertheless, it was only after 1970 that Black Africans gained access to Canada in considerable numbers (see Table 1.1).  The Struggle for Educational Equity The education which was available to early B l a c k communities through missionary groups was both culturally irrelevant and less vigorous than that provided by the common school o f the day. The missionary curriculum was aimed primarily at maintaining a servile and content population (Winks, 1997). The "African Schools" in N o v a Scotia, or the "segregated coloured schools" in the Maritimes, Ontario and ,in the prairies, lacked adequate facilities, teachers and relevant curriculum. Although a few o f the coloured schools in Ontario followed the public school curriculum, a majority lacked relevant curriculum. This situation was not peculiar to the Black community. It also applied to the First Nations Peoples, Asians and to a lesser extent, "working class European children," as well as East Europeans who were the economic underclass and less desirable immigrants respectively at the time (Owen, 1995). Black children were deliberately restricted to basic reading, writing, sewing and catechism (Pratt, 1972; Winks, 1997). Geography, algebra and grammar, for instance, "were considered unnecessary accomplishments in children who would subsequently be required to perform the meanest tasks" (Pachai, 1987, p. 52). Racism and racial stereotyping in Canadian education systems encouraged low teacher expectations and placement  28 of Black students in dead-end programs, or courses, which severely restricted their life opportunities. The separate school policy that was unofficially practised in many communities was an infringement upon the rights o f Black parents and their children. This is because despite fulfilling their tax obligations, many Blacks and other ethnic minorities could neither attend the public schools, nor continue with high school education and post secondary opportunities which were based on the grading systems o f the public schools. It is clear that the educational goals for Black children were being set by white society, which intended Blacks to remain ignorant and servile. Black parents persisted in their demand for educational and social equity even as they remained divided over the issue o f school segregation and integration. In Ontario, the establishment o f the Buxton Mission School in 1850, stood as an exception and benchmark for what Canadian Blacks could achieve. With adequate funding, qualified teachers and support from the Presbyterian mission, the school operated successfully well into the 1900s. It opened its doors to Canadians o f diverse ethnic backgrounds, offered multi-centred curriculum and produced many successful Black teachers and professionals (Alexander & G l a z e , 1996; Winks, 1997). Like other school subjects, art education in Canada is centred on the Western canon and notions o f art. M a n y art critics and anthropologists, in the past, ignored the artistic accomplishments o f Blacks/Africans and erroneously referred to them as "ugly," "primitive" and "childlike," and invalidated its worth as a school subject . This prejudice continues to be reinforced in representations in art education, 3  art museums and galleries in many Western societies today. A number o f English and German art critics, (i.e., Owen Jones, Charles Hercules Read, Ormonde Dalton and Felix von Luschan), however, have consistently challenged such positions and praised the aesthetic excellence o f African art forms (e.g., Benin art and Asante ornamental designs) and judged their quality as comparable to the best works o f other civilizations (in Barkan, 1997; Eisenhofer, 1997) (see Figures: 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, & 2.4 for sample pictures). Owen Jones, for instance, admired African artists' affinity with nature and hoped that modern art "would return to a more healthy condition . . . we must get rid o f the acquired and artificial and return to  See F. Graeme Chalmers, 1992, and Ira Jacknis, 1976, for a detailed description of Victorian views of African art and the art of the so-called primitive people. 3  29 and develop natural instincts" (in Jacknis, 1976, p. 106). A r t educators and historians (Gardner, 1959; Janson, 1971; Schuman, 1981) have systematically ignored and distorted the long historical traditions o f African art and culture and suggested, for instance, that the civilizations o f the N i l e Valley, Ancient Egypt and N u b i a cannot be attributed to Black Africa in spite o f abundant historical evidence and similarity o f culture. Where African art and culture have been included in mainstream art programs, it is often presented as a token or a heap o f anthropological curiosities and exotic ritual celebrations. Across Canada, some Black parents have resisted such portrayal o f African culture and demanded structural changes to address concerns about discrimination and prejudice in the schools. Some parents have worked for policy and curriculum changes at the school board level and have been instrumental in the establishment o f race relation's policies in Ontario, N o v a Scotia and N e w Brunswick ( B E W G , 1993; B L A C , 1994; B U F , 1971; C A B E , 1992). Over the period from 1984 to 1994, there has been a plethora o f commissions, reports and theoretical pronouncements aimed at breaking down barriers and providing a more inclusive education to emerging and insistent multicultural audiences. In Ontario, the document,  For the Love of Learning: A  Report of the Royal Commission on Learning, 1994, reflects many o f the Black/African community's recommendations vis-a-vis their educational needs ( B E W G , 1993; C A B E , 1992). The British Columbia's educational reform initiative,  Year 2000: A Framework for Learning ( B C Ministry o f Education, 1992)  stresses the need to understand cultural heritage and develop tolerance and respect for the ideas and beliefs o f ethnic cultures. Similarly, in  A Legacy for Learners: A Report of the Royal Commission on Education,  Sullivan (1994) recognized that British Columbia needed multicultural education not only to ensure educational equity and foster healthy inter-group attitudes, but also to "preserve diverse cultural heritages through language instruction and through other studies in history, geography, art, music, or drama to remind us o f who we are today and from what culture we once came" (p. 28). These reports inject a new  legitimacy for multicultural education in the province. The Black Learners Advisory Committee's ( B L A C ) report o f 1994 is perhaps the most significant event in N o v a Scotia's attempts to redress its longstanding educational inequity. This report, like the others, sets the stage for a new educational accountability,  B r o n z e P l a q u e of O b a ( K i n g ) of Benin, N i g e r i a (1600 C . E . ) ( A Member of the 1897 British Punitive Expedition Note: From W o r l d History: Perspectives on the Past (p. 325) by L . S. Krieger, K . N e i l l and E. Reynolds, 1997, Evanston, Illinois: M c D o u g a l Littell.  31  Figure 2.2  Two Bronze Heads from the Yoruba Kingdom of Ife, N i g e r i a (1100 -1600 C . E . ) Note: F r o m W o r l d History: Perspectives on the Past (p. 325) by L . S. Krieger, K . N e i l l and E . Reynolds, 1997, Evanston, Illinois: M c D o u g a l Littell.  Ivory Saltcellar from E d o of B e n i n , Nigeria (in the British Museum) Note. From Studies o f Benin A r t and Material Culture. 1897 - 1 9 9 7 . by J. Nevadomsky, 1997, African Arts 30(3). p. 21.  33  F i g u r e 2.4  Necklace of 108 Pieces of G o l d from A s h a n t i People, Ghana (in the British Museum) Note. From W o r l d History: Perspectives on the Past (p. 321) by L . S. Krieger, K . N e i l l and E. Reynolds, 1997, Evanston, Illinois: M c D o u g a l Littell.  34  which, i f carefully implemented, could serve as a blueprint for positive changes for Black students across Canada. While in theory, many o f the provincial documents aim to meet the challenge o f inclusiveness in school, the difficult task o f converting policy statements into concrete action remains. The calls for inclusive curriculum and alternative pedagogies and the demand for educators to incorporate African-centred ways o f knowing should not be viewed merely as a move to replace one hegemonic form o f knowledge with another, but rather as one o f many possible ways o f addressing inequalities inherent in Euro-Canadian/American schools. With Africentricity, Dei (1996) explains, emphasis [is placed] on the value o f group unity, mutuality, collective responsibility, community and social bonding. These values can help move education away from an emphasis on individual competitiveness and a privileging o f rights o f individuals without any matching social responsibilities, (p. 75) These cultural values can be taught using African art, which is a reflection o f African culture. The yearning to become familiar with African art and non-Western ways o f knowing, stands in conflict with those whose privileges are entrenched in Eurocentrism and Canadianism. This explains why reluctance to implement multicultural education has originated from the very institutions, schools and educators that are charged with its implementation. A nationwide survey by Solomon and Levine-Rasky (1994) shows that Canadian teachers' support for multicultural education varies according to how the innovation is conceptualized. When teachers conceptualize multicultural education as the encouragement o f respect for ethnic cultures, support was very high. On the other hand, when multicultural education was perceived as the curriculum mainstreaming o f diverse cultural norms, values and traditions, support fell by over 20%. Emerging from these conceptualizations are: the continuous marginalization o f multicultural education in the mainstream curricula; the superficiality in its treatment; the failure to engage in more profound meanings o f culture; and the preoccupation with inter-group harmony within school and community. The extent to which these pedagogical approaches can ensure equitable learning environments for all students has been the source o f much antagonism between multicultural and anti-racist educators. Lack o f adequate support and provisions (resource materials and means) to implement and sustain multicultural education initiatives has contributed to restricting the development and articulation o f its pedagogy. In multicultural Canada, where all teenage students have the opportunity to attend high school, one would expect that  35 Black students would take advantage o f their rights to pursue upward mobility through education. A n d yet, as noted by Patrick Solomon (1992), we have a paradoxical situation o f high educational aspiration and low school performance. Generally, schools are left to determine students' needs, and cultural bias often influences curriculum content, tracking, teaching methods, hiring, parent/school relations, assessment and language policies. The historical "streaming" o f black students and other ethnic minorities into vocational programs is a self-fulfilling prophecy on the part o f schools, many o f which view the presence o f Blacks and students o f various ethnic minority backgrounds as a Canadian dilemma. While higher educational attainments do not always translate to better employment opportunities for Blacks and other visible minorities in Canada, these groups continue to hold on to the conviction that education is a key ingredient for their successful integration into the Canadian society (Burrell & Christensen, 1987; H o u & Balakrishnan, 1996). Indigenous Black Canadians and Caribbean-Canadians have long histories in the provinces o f N o v a Scotia, Quebec, Ontario and in the prairies. These groups have also been widely studied over the years ( B L A C , 1994; Calliste, 1994a, 1994c; Codjoe, 1995; Pachai, 1987; Pratt, 1972; Walker & Tholvaldson, 1979; Winks, 1997). N o group o f Canadian Blacks has been more closely and frequently studied than those in N o v a Scotia. Yet, as noted by Winks, "for all o f this remarkable industry, for all o f the data gathered, the informants interviewed, the cards fdled, the computers programmed, little o f moment emerged" (p. 384). Black populations o f continental African origins are the least studied among Black groups in Canada and particularly in British Columbia. W h i l e several reports have been produced on such visible minority groups as East Indians and Chinese, there remains a dearth o f research on Blacks and African immigrants in the Lower Mainland (Province o f British Columbia, 1992). A s shown in Table 2.1, the 1996 Census indicated that Blacks formed only 2.9% o f the visible minority population in the Greater Vancouver Regional District ( G V R D ) o f British Columbia compared with the Chinese and Filipinos with the percentage o f 49.4% and 7.2% respectively. Given the relative smallness o f Black/African community in the Lower Mainland, one could be tempted to explain away this lack o f attention. However, the dearth o f research on Black/African immigrants is a serious neglect o f a group that, arguably, faces higher levels  Table 2.1  Visible Minority Population in the Vancouver CMA, 1996 Visible Minority Group  Population  Percentage  Chinese  279,040  49.4  South A s i a n  120,140  21.3  Filipino  40,710  7.2  Japanese  21,880  3.9  Southeast Asian  20,370  3.6  Arab/West Asian  18,155  3.2  Korean  17,080  3.0  Black  16,400  2.9  Latin American  13,830  2.4  Visible Minority*  6,775  1.2  Multiple V i s i b l e M i n o r i t y * *  10,210  1.8  TOTAL  564,590  100  * This includes Pacific Islanders and other visible minority groups not included elsewhere. **This includes those who reported more than one visible minority group. Source: Statistics Canada (1996 Census). The Daily, February 17, 1998, p. 7.  37 o f racial stereotype and discrimination than other visible minorities owing to their higher visibility and the legacy o f slavery. Furthermore, several issues concerning the education o f Black/African-Canadians in the Lower Mainland lack the necessary research finding for any meaningful policy formulation. M y focus in this dissertation is on Black Canadian children from Continental African origin who are emerging as a visible minority group in Greater Vancouver and whose education, like their Black counterparts elsewhere, presents a Canadian dilemma (Brathwaite, 1989). Ogbu (1986) classifies this group o f Blacks as voluntary immigrants and yet unlike other voluntary immigrants, they encounter major barriers to their intellectual and social advancement in Canada.  Identity Politics and Black Educational Experience Racial stereotypes and the White image o f a B l a c k ' s place in society have tended to subject all Blacks in Canada, irrespective o f their differences, to common experiences that have tended to shape their identities, educational experiences and activities in Canada. Walker and Thorvaldson (1979) argue that: Because they [Black Canadians with parental origins from countries o f Africa] share their colour, image and many o f their experiences not only with each other but with the descendants o f Canada's earlier black settlers, the new black immigrants must be considered not just as "new Canadians" . . . but as "new black Canadians." (p. 39) Racial essentialism is problematic because it distorts and ignores the complex and diverse intellectual reflections, histories, cultural practices, artistic creations, social classes and other experiences that describe the social reality o f Black people. W h i l e it is true that the lives o f indigenous Black/AfricanCanadian students, those from continental Africa and the Caribbean, are intertwined by race and diaspora experiences, there are certain issues around which they converge and diverge. Eurocentrism has been insidious in essentializing Blacks and has created a common alienation among Blacks o f continental Africa and the diaspora. Hicks (1994) points out the weakness in current multicultural art education approaches in the United States that ignore the dynamics o f cultural formation o f various ethnic groups who are the participants o f local education systems. Through her teaching experience, she discovers that the identities o f African-American students are located within the American context rather than continental Africa. Therefore linking African-American students with African culture, she notes, is a "dislocation o f  38  pedagogy" for students whose identities are formed by diaspora experiences and assimilation within the host society. Whilst her argument seems to provide the basis for resisting racial essentialism, it fails to engage in a historical analysis o f racial identity vis-a-vis the experiences o f Black people in A m e r i c a and elsewhere. What are the underlying reasons for African-American students' rejection o f an African cultural heritage? What have they internalized o f the African imagery in American society? What  '  impressions and impact have the negative imageries o f continental A f r i c a created among AfricanAmerican students? Whose interest does the unbalanced representation and distortion o f the continent, both in school texts and mass media, serve? Racism and the systematic disparagement o f African culture in Euro-Canadian/American society create widespread dislocation and disorientation among persons o f African descent. This explains why some scholars, students and artists o f African descent rush to deny their "Blackness" or their African identity in order to gain acceptance into the Euro-Canadian/American norm. If a child concludes that there is something wrong with her/his culture, then her/his self-concept and cultural pride is severely diminished. This is so because one's basic identity is one's self-identity, which is ultimately one's cultural identity; without a strong cultural identity, one is lost. Racial stereotyping in Eurocentric curriculum and pedagogy has produced aberrations o f perspectives among persons o f colour. Ironically, however, the reality o f Eurocentrism and racism in EuroCanada/American society also provides legitimate grounds for the discussion o f shared realities and "enabling solidarity" among African-Canadians, African-Americans, continental Africans and the diaspora. The solidarity and liberation o f all people o f African heritage was the main mission o f W . E . B . D u Bois in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in the United States. Similarly, the Harlem Renaissance, an African consciousness movement in the United States, accentuated by Marcus Garvey, challenged the social order and asked Blacks in American to consider a return to Africa, their motherland (Clarke, 1985). A n enabling solidarity, according to D y s o n (1994), appeals to the richly varied meanings of cultural practices, the contradictions, the diversity o f authentic roles within Black cultural identities and the ever-changing historical experience in supporting the vision o f B l a c k identity and Black/AfricanCanadian artistic, educational and cultural experience. Due to historical continuity, the complexities o f racial identity and the reality o f racism in society, it is neither appropriate to ignore the solidarity among  39 Blacks and the link o f African-Canadians with African culture nor to place an ideological blockade on critical dissenters who w i l l situate their identities within a Euro-Western context rather than Africa. Black/African-Canadian students are not a homogeneous group. However, some commonalities exist in the educational experiences o f students born in Africa and the diaspora, including those o f mixed parenthood. Research by D e i , Holmes, Mazzuca, M c l s a a c and Campbell (1995) shows that Caribbean students are less inclined than African immigrant students to identify with Africa due primarily to negative and unbalanced representation o f the continent both in school texts and in the mass media. Caribbean students were more concerned with "social labelling" o f B l a c k students as "trouble-makers," and about the attempts by schools to place students from the Caribbean in English skill development ( E S D ) classes. Students born in Canada, particularly to mixed parents, raised questions o f identity. Continental African students and their parents, on the other hand, were more concerned about the broad issues o f language, religion, culture and the negative image about the continent that mainstream school and popular media discourses present to unsuspecting students and Canadian audiences. Students, who speak with distinctly different accent and dialects, pointed to inter-group discrimination and prejudices among their peers. A l s o , concerns about racial discrimination, the lack o f representation o f Black/African perspectives, histories and experiences, the absence o f Black teachers and a prevailing culture o f Eurocentric dominance in the school system, were shared by a l l Black youths. The above findings suggest that diverse students o f African heritage can relate to the tenets o f African-centred education. It seems possible that African-centred education could bring all people o f African descent from the margins to the centres o f post-modern history. Despite differences among Black groups, many diaspora scholars (e.g., Asante and Asante, 1985; Diop, 1978) have argued that Africans and their descendants in the diaspora form a single cultural river with numerous tributaries characterized by their specific responses to history and the environment. Just as we can speak o f European art and culture despite the differences, so do we understand African art and cultures based on the knowledge o f common characteristics and differences. People o f African descent share a common experience drawn from the devastating legacy o f slavery and colonialism; a common struggle for liberation against political, cultural and economic domination; and a common origin traced from Africa, the ancestral home o f all Black  40 people. Baldwin (1986) contends that to speak o f " B l a c k people and B l a c k experience outside the context o f African culture is utterly meaningless" (p. 24). Asante (1987) also points out that the culture and history of African-Canadians, African-Americans and Blacks in the diaspora represent developments in African culture and history, inseparable from place and time. M a k i n g this claim, however, does not deny the African-Caribbean, African-Canadian and African-American histories and cultures in their own right. A viable multicultural pedagogy and politics must affirm both common cultural characteristics and differences. African-Canadians must be exposed not only to mainstream knowledge that assimilates them into "Canadianism" but also to Africentric knowledge that affirms their "Africanness" as their hyphenated identity depicts.  Explanations for Black Children's Educational Underachievement It is common knowledge supported by a large body o f research that the structural process o f delivering education has different impact on various groups in Canada. Various causes have been attributed for the relatively high incidence o f school failure and "dropouts" among Black students in EuroCanadian/American contexts (Dei, Mazzuca, Mclsaac, & Zine, 1997). Traditionally, the theories o f "genetic inferiority" and "cultural deprivation" have been advanced to explain the school failures o f Black students and children from culturally diverse and deprived backgrounds. With these theories, often referred to as "deficit models," school failure is blamed either on the students themselves, who are said to be genetically inferior, or on the economic and cultural disadvantages o f their communities, which deprive them o f the necessary preparation (Bereiter & Englemann, 1966). Such a perspective overlooks the complex interrelationship between the economic, social, educational and political factors contributing to school failure. Cultural deprivation or the socio-pathological perspective was employed as a justification in the residential school system in Canada where Native Indian children were forcibly removed from their homes and families in order to "exorcize" them o f their "malignant" cultures (Boyko, 1997; Moodley, 1995) . This explanation o f school failure has long been discredited not only as ethnocentric and scientifically unfounded, but also for its inadequate explanation o f the failures o f so many students (Nieto, 1996) . Scientists and social reformers have concluded that differences in educational attainment among  41 groups are social artefacts created through historical, socio-political and educational inequities. Stephen G o u l d ' s (1996) masterwork,  The Mismeasure of Man, effectively and thoroughly contributes toward  deflating pseudoscientific explanations o f intellectual attainments among Black children. It undermines, for instance,  The Bell Curve and the hereditarian IQ theory, or those who would classify and rank people  according to their supposed genetic gifts or limits. W i l l i a m Ryan (1972) also challenges the theory o f genetic inferiority and cultural deprivation. He argues that: We are dealing, it would seem, not so much with culturally deprived children as with culturally depriving schools. A n d the task to be accomplished is not to revise, amend and repair deficient children, but to alter and transform the atmosphere and operations o f the schools to which we commit these children, (p. 61)  School failures o f Blacks and other minorities may be caused by the structures o f schools, which are static, classist, sexist and racist and which represent the interests o f the dominant classes. The emphasis of Euro-Western education has been on moulding and shaping children from non-European backgrounds so as to fit into an educational process designed for middle-class White children. Such an approach to schooling is inherently problematic because many of these children live in different conditions that directly affect their schooling, including their interactional and learning styles ( B . Y o u n g , 1990). Not acknowledging these differences often results in schools and teachers labelling children's behaviour as deficient instead o f making provisions for them in the curriculum. Ogbu (1986) and Nieto (1996) talk about the cultural incongruence between the home and the school and explain that it is the school's perception o f the students' values, skills, expectations, language, culture, race and class as inadequate and negative and the subsequent devalued status o f these characteristics in the academic environment, that help to explain school failure. Research on teachers' interaction with students, and particularly teacher expectations, has shown that students' performance is influenced by subtle messages from teachers about students' worth, intelligence and capability (Rosenthal & Jacobson, 1968). Expectations o f students' achievements are often based on the social class and race o f the students. Because o f racial stereotypes, the academic abilities o f Black children and visible minorities are often underestimated. Due to systemic discrimination as well as administrative complexities, formal education is unable or unwilling to respond to the particular  42 learning styles, or specific problems o f Black/African-Canadian learners with varying socio-economic backgrounds. Research by D e i , Mazzuca, Mclsaac and Zine (1997) tells us that students who perceive a lack o f curriculum content devoted to their history, interest and experience are likely to disengage or 'fadeout' from school. If Black/African-Canadian students can relate to what they are learning at school, they are likely to learn better. But unfortunately, many Black/African-Canadians have lost their cultural centeredness and exist in a borrowed space. Their existential relationship to the dominant culture defines what and who they are at any given moment (Asante, 1998). In art education, researchers have examined differences in aesthetic perceptions o f ethnic groups (Gayle, 1972; Irwin & Farrell, 1996; Neperud, Serlin & Jenkins, 1986). Although the debate about a distinct Black aesthetics is far from over, Irwin and Farrell (1996) and Neperud, Serlin and Jenkins (1986) suggest that most ethnic groups possess aesthetic values central to their culture. Therefore, cultural discontinuity or the marginalization o f minority students' cultures is detrimental to their artistic development. If a school system, as a matter o f course, neglects the individual backgrounds, histories language, interactional and learning styles o f its students, and categorizes and labels those who do not fit the norm, then one should expect failure to be the outcome. It is important in these instances that culture is treated as a mutable process rather than as unchanging product. That is, while we examine how culture may influence learning and therefore achievement in school, we must be wary o f overgeneralizations that lead to gross stereotypes, which in turn may lead to erroneous conclusions about individual students' abilities and intelligence. Although culture is indeed integral to the learning process, it affects every individual differently, given differences in social class, family structure, psychological and emotional differences, birth order, residence and a host o f individual distinctions. Learning occurs in various forms, as there is uniqueness among individual students. Some students learn in combination o f preferred modes as supported by the theory o f multiple intelligences (Gardner, 1983). From a pedagogical perspective, therefore, good teaching practices address the various intelligences as appropriate, reaching each student's preferred learning modes and challenging all students to develop intelligences they have not yet fully refined. In the United States, Twiggs (1990) observes that many teachers overtly or covertly tend to  43 characterize minority children, particularly those from poor socio-economic backgrounds, as unruly, lazy, inferior and dumb. A s a result, they expect little from them since they believe that such students have no worthwhile aspirations. Black males, especially, endure the most o f this negative attitude. They are often labelled in early grades as troublemakers even before they ever get into trouble and may be targeted for suspension as they progress through school. This prejudicial attitude is not peculiar to American White teachers. Canadian teachers have either inherited or imported similar attitudes as is evident from the study  Push Out or Drop Out? The dynamics of Black/African-Canadian Students' DisengagementfromSchool by D e i , Holmes, Mazzuca, Mclsaac and Campbell (1995). Blacks and minority teachers whose socioeconomic class, training and experiences are modelled from Eurocentric perspectives may also disapprove that which defies the Eurocentric middle-class norm. Even more destructive is the fact that Black children are deprived o f the knowledge o f Black/African artistic, cultural and historical traditions. Contrary to the notion that Black students disengage from school partly as a result o f low self-esteem, D e i , Mazzuca, Mclsaac and Zine (1997) discovered in their study that Black students are rather 'pushed out' because they have a strong sense o f cultural pride and self-esteem which schools ignore, devalue, or seek to contain through complex administrative processes and assimilation into the Eurocentric norm. Thus, Black/African-Canadians are faced with an educational dilemma. O n one hand, Black students and their parents recognize the importance o f finishing school for employment and social mobility; on the other hand, their interpretations o f the curriculum and the operations o f the school systems cause them to disengage from school. If teacher education in the future is to present a model o f the positive incorporation of racial, ethnic and gender diversity, its student body, faculty, curricula and pedagogy must become culturally diversified and receptive to multicultural perspectives. For far too long, minority groups have been underrepresented as teachers and role models in Canadian classrooms. Black students o f Continental African origin constitute a unique case. Some have to deal with memories o f their homeland; isolation as a result o f being newcomers to Canada; the challenges o f adjusting to their new environment where native culture, native language and foreign accents are devalued; and the problems o f discrimination and racial stereotyping. Due to differences in objectives, history, values and practices, incompatibilities between the home culture and the school culture become profound,  44 leading to "cultural clash" which may produce school failure (Nieto, 1996). With the unique experiences o f Blacks in Canada and the experience o f a long history o f discrimination, it is important that appropriate modifications in curriculum and instruction are made to ensure greater cultural congruence and the possibility for success. Without sensitivity to the intellectual and cultural needs o f Blacks and other minorities, Canadian educational systems have proceeded as i f the needs o f Black/African-Canadian children are the same as those o f middle-class White children. In 1971 the Black United Front ( B U F ) o f N o v a Scotia, outlined the long-standing causes o f low Black educational attainment and high dropout rate. In a brief to the Royal Commission on Education, 1971, B U F blamed Black learners low achievement and school drop-outs on the dominance o f Eurocentric curriculum and systematic lack o f "Africentric" curriculum; lack o f Black teachers, administrators and role models; insensitivity o f White teachers to the needs o f Black students; inappropriate testing methods for Black students; use o f prejudicial texts, remarks and racial slurs; systemic streaming o f Black children into general, vocational or dead-end programs; and the lack o f pre-schooling for Black children ( B L A C , 1994, p. 30). M a n y o f the conditions that existed in the 1970s have continued to limit Black/African-Canadian students' educational participation and attainment not only in N o v a Scotia, but also in other provinces as well. The B L A C Report (1994) on the education o f African N o v a Scotians also reiterates similar concerns based on evidence from the grass roots. It states that: Clear deficiencies that exist include the shortage o f policies affecting race relations at the Board and school levels; the need for school curriculum and policies to accommodate cultural diversity; the need to realign the relationship between the home and the school; the lack o f any development of creative and resourceful programs for teachers' professional training, maturation and growth in a multicultural and multiracial society; a scarcity o f Black role models in the [educational] systems, methods to respond to racial harassment and the assessment o f students for placement; the lack o f an effective process to evaluate text books for bias and the absence o f materials to engender more positive attitudes in the African N o v a Scotia student. ( B L A C , 1994, p. 14)  The protracted outbreaks o f racial violence in Cole Harbour District High School in Halifax, N o v a Scotia, in 1989, 1991 and 1997 (Hamilton, 1997), for example, attest to the consistent hostility to Black learners in the province.  45  The Promise of Multicultural and Anti-racist Education Multicultural and anti-racist education, both advocate greater opportunity for educational success o f students o f diverse background in Canada. Multicultural educators link the issues o f culture with school processes. They examine minority children's underachievement and stress that equality in education can be attained by: attuning teaching strategies to culturally different ways o f perceiving and learning (Smith, 1983); developing culturally relevant curricula (Fleras & Elliott, 1992); providing basic knowledge o f students' own cultures (Hoopes & Pusch, 1979); and improving the students' self-image, usually by valuing the students' culture (Fleras & Elliott, 1992). Anti-racist education links the issues o f identity and power with schooling process. It integrates the institutional structures o f society including teaching, learning, educational administration and how local communities (e.g., parents, families, community groups) interact with these structures. Both multiculturalism and anti-racism promote the removal o f bias and ethnocentrism from texts and the curriculum. They'also emphasize the contributions o f minorities to the development o f Canada as a nation (Fleras & Elliott, 1992). However, the major emphasis o f multicultural education has been on reducing individual racism while anti-racist education has been on reducing institutional racism. I find the goals o f multicultural education and anti-racism education largely compatible, complementary and reinforcing. A rigid dichotomy, which would create an obstacle to greater equality in education, is therefore unnecessary. Multicultural education is a means to enrich the lives o f all students by helping them to understand and value their own ethnicity, gain an appreciation o f the ethnic cultures o f others and to share their cultural heritage. A critical multicultural education perspective explores the promises o f both multicultural education and anti-racist education. It links issues o f culture with education and aims at promoting educational equity and inter-group harmony. However, it recognizes that education is not apolitical and therefore advocates the need to challenge its content and form. Critical multiculturalism brings to multicultural education a sharp institutional analysis that might otherwise be missing. African-centred knowledge embedded in African art and culture is one window through which the goals o f multicultural education could be achieved. African-centred knowledge involves "the epistemic saliency, values, belief systems and world views o f society which are imparted to the younger generation  46 by community elders" (Dei, 1996, p. 95). Africentricity brings us to understand that the interrelationship o f art and knowledge with cosmology, society, religion, medicine and tradition stands alongside the interactive metaphors o f discourse as principal means o f achieving a measure o f knowledge about experience. Thus, through the knowledge o f African art and culture, connections could be built between the home culture and the school culture, as well as between mainstream art and other artistic traditions in order to enhance students' self-esteem and success. African-centred curriculum according to Carol Lee (1994) is culturally situated and aims at cultivating a sense o f mutual interdependence among students, teachers, parents and the wider community. School, work and communities are interwoven in the articulation o f the experiences and social practices o f all stakeholders in the school. Curriculum and pedagogy are informed by a holistic integrated view o f schooling. The school promotes education for the interest o f the public rather than simply for private interest, individual enrichment or self-improvement. Nevertheless, it does not negate individual self-worth and the right o f self-determination by other groups. For the art educator, the challenges are: to raise these issues for classroom discussion; to provide students the opportunity to experience appropriate cultural education which gives them an intimate knowledge o f ethno-cultures; and to honour and respect the history and culture o f all people. African art education w i l l speak to continental African students in a familiar voice because it w i l l provide the opportunity for them to experience identity-based knowledge that connects with their experiential realities. It also has the potential o f connecting with mainstream culture due to cross-cultural commonalities and similarities in the social functions o f art. The art historian, Dissanayake (1988, 1992) and socioanthropological theorists (Banks, 1993; Chalmers, 1996) argue that there are far more similarities than differences among cultural and ethnic groups. Ironically, however, due to ethnocentrism, too much . emphasis is placed on the differences than on the commonalities. African art in a multicultural curriculum w i l l increase self-awareness and facilitate the search for personal identities among Black students and w i l l serve as a bridge to understanding mainstream art and other art forms (e.g., A s i a n art, First Nations art and Islamic art). M c F e e (1986) argues that all groups need and use art forthe purpose o f identity, continuity, change and to enhance their cultural values. A s students become well informed through the knowledge o f African art and culture, they gain some understanding which empowers them to question the dominance o f  47 European art in the school curriculum. Multiculturalism is a positive dynamic force, a philosophy that should permeate all curricula. It is based on the concept that each and all o f the diverse cultures now present in Canada have something o f value to offer and share with other cultures, as we strive to build a new and better way o f life together. A multicultural curriculum may be taught in a way that w i l l perpetuate racial stereotyping. A s a reform movement that challenges institutionalized paradigms and practices in education, multicultural education stands the risk o f being appropriated by the establishment. The way out o f this dilemma is for educators to become vigilant in the multicultural education process. Anti-racist teaching would incorporate appropriate pedagogical methods, attitudes, knowledge (e.g., multicultural content) and the necessary skills to bring about learning that w i l l challenge racism and change the bias o f the traditional ethnocentric education to which we are accustomed in Canada. Research in the pedagogy o f African-American teachers of African-American students, has shown how teachers employ students' cultural knowledge and experiences as a bridge to the dominant culture with the aim o f overcoming some o f the debilitating and negative messages to which their students are subjected in schools and society. This "emancipatory" pedagogy empowers students to think critically, analyze the inherent values o f dominant cultures and work actively for social justice ( K i n g , 1991; Ladson-Billings, 1994). Emancipatory art education should reflect the multiple and collective origins o f art and art historical knowledge and correct repressive and monovocal art historical text portrayals o f historically marginalized cultures and groups. It should also require a liberative student-teacher relationship that w i l l open up art history, art criticism, aesthetics and art production to critical analyses and reconstruction. Such critical interactions, according to Freire (1970), stimulate both students and teachers to be producers o f knowledge rather than passive receptors o f preformulated and privileged knowledge o f others. Africentricity needs to move from the conceptual stage to its practical application where teachers are taught to put Black/African-Canadian students at the centre o f curriculum and instruction. In effect, students should be shown how to see with new eyes and hear with new ears. Black/African-Canadian students must learn to interpret and centre phenomena in the context o f African heritage while nonAfrican-Canadian students are taught to see that their own centres are not threatened by the presence or  48  contributions o f others. Dei (1996) reiterates this point by arguing that, "Euro-Canadian/American schools need a new form o f education that w i l l particularly assist Black youth to reinvent their "Africanness" within a diaspora context and create a way o f being and thinking that is congruent with positive African traditions and values" (p. 90). This suggestion applies to all Black youths in Canada because firstly, racial discrimination negatively affects all Black children, though in varying degrees, and secondly, because the struggle for social justice and educational equity is a collective endeavour. Africentrism is a form o f intervention against white supremacist racism in the academy that has led to the trivialization, distortion, or exclusion o f African history and art, as well as the underachievement o f many Black students. This prejudice and biased omission gave the world the false impression that Africa did not possess any history, artistic excellence, civilizations and institutions o f value to study as contributions to knowledge, world history and civilization. Without an inclusive art education, Black/African-Canadians bring almost nothing to the multicultural table but a darker version o f whiteness. Inclusiveness means dealing foremost with equity and justice with regard to the intellectual and cultural needs o f all students; having a multiplicity o f artistic and cultural perspectives represented as integral part o f mainstream art education; and reforming school, classroom practices and learning materials to meet the challenges o f diversity. Africa is rich with many art forms and has greatly influenced European art styles, particularly  cubism. The contribution of Africans to world art and history, knowledge and civilization should, therefore, be acknowledged and celebrated in a multicultural curriculum. Five hundred years o f Western European contact with continental Africa was intertwined with slavery, imperialist plunders o f African art and treasures (e.g., Ancient Egyptian and Nubian art, Benin court art and Ashanti gold ornaments), artistic borrowing and cultural appropriation (Coombes, 1994). Historical injustice against the people o f Africa and the diaspora calls not only for a continuous dialogue about the protection and restitution o f cultural patrimony, but also for the transformation o f art curricula to meet the needs o f Black/African-Canadian students and other visible minority students.  49  Conceptions of Multicultural Education Multicultural Policy in Canada Canada has always been an ethnically heterogeneous society. Apart from the First Nations people, all other Canadians are either immigrants or can trace their ethnic backgrounds from the places (country or area) o f origin o f their ancestors (James, 1995). Since the arrival o f the "founding" peoples, the French and the British in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries respectively, the Canadian identity into which immigrants are socialized and incorporated has evolved from Anglo-conformity, melting pot, mosaic, twonations, to multiculturalism. In the decade and a half after 1945, 96% o f immigrants came from Europe (mainly due to post-war dislocation), the United States and Australasia. Immigration to Canada from other parts o f the world was discouraged or prohibited at this time. In 1962, Canada replaced its ethnic-based immigration policy with a less discriminatory "colour b l i n d " Immigration A c t which resulted in a dramatic shift in the country o f origin o f Canada's immigrants (see Table 1.1). Significant changes in immigration levels and patterns and the English-French tensions in the 1960s posed a great challenge to the well-established concept o f Canadian identity grounded largely on British institutions and values. In response to these developments, the federal government in October 1971 adopted the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism's recommendations, which inaugurated the policy o f multiculturalism for Canada. The new policy o f multiculturalism contained the government's concern for the integration and the protection o f ethnic groups and their rights to preserve and develop their own culture and values within the Canadian context (Friesen, 1985). Initially, the government provided aid to support ethnic organizations, including cultural centres, festivals, both ethnic and multicultural publications and a series o f histories o f twenty ethnic groups. While some people received this policy with enthusiasm and saw it as the biggest accomplishment in our journey toward social equity, others greeted it with disappointment (Fleras & Elliot, 1992). The influx o f non-European immigrants in the 1970s and 1980s, re-awakened latent fears and hostilities toward non-White immigrants. The government responded to this with the passage o f both the Human Rights B i l l and the Canadian Multicultural A c t . The Multicultural A c t recognizes our cultural diversity and states that we are all free to maintain and share our cultural heritage and to participate fully  50 and equally in our national life. The multicultural policy issued by the House of Commons (pp. 85508581) according to Friesen (1985) contained the following guarantees: 1  The government of Canada will support all of Canada's cultures and will seek to assist, resources permitting, the development of those cultural groups which have demonstrated a desire and effort to continue to develop, a capacity to grow and contribute to Canada, as well as a clear need for assistance;  2  The government will assist members of all cultural groups to overcome cultural barriers to full participation in Canadian society;  3  The government will promote creative encounters and interchange among all Canadian cultural groups in the interest of national unity; and  4 The government will continue to assist immigrants to acquire at least one of Canada's official languages in order to become full participants in Canadian society. . . . (Friesen, 1985, pp. 1-2) Some provinces, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia, became supporters of multiculturalism on the grounds that it makes Canada stronger and more of a "global village." Notwithstanding, some ethno-cultural groups still view Canada's multiculturalism as tokenistic for not extending the promotion of ethnic cultures to embrace heritage languages. Multiculturalism within a bilingual framework creates tensions and contradictions between the taken-for-granted cultural and linguistic assimilation to English or French and the plurality that multiculturalism promises. Since language is an integral part of culture, the critics ask: What is cultural preservation without linguistic preservation? This demand led to the introduction of non-official language or Heritage Language instruction, both in and outside school hours by the various provincial ministries of education. The group to take greatest advantage of these multicultural programs were those of European origin and relatively long residence in Canada: Ukrainian, Italian and Polish Canadians. People committed to national unity, or "Canadianism" foresees multiculturalism as a further institutionalization and deepening of political and economic inequalities for minority cultural groups. Porter (1979) for instance, saw the integration of non-official languages and non-European cultural values into the Canadian classrooms as detrimental to the culture of science and technology and to the upward mobility of children of non-European origin. What this argument ignores are the facts that the nation has been historically divided along ethnic, class and gender lines, as well as the pervasive inequalities in social  51  justice, the distribution o f knowledge and power. The French, especially those in Quebec, like the First Nations, view multiculturalism as harbouring a hidden agenda to neutralize their distinctive claims: cultural hegemony as a "founding nation" and Aboriginal treaty rights respectively (Sanders, 1987). In Quebec, the term "cultural pluralism" was preferred to "multiculturalism." The "two-nation" definition o f Canada, now discarded elsewhere in Canada, was much closer to the hearts o f Quebec than "multiculturalism." B y the end o f the 2 0 century, Canadian national identity had evolved through several th  stages: "Anglo-conformity," "melting pot," "mosaic," "two nations" to "multiculturalism." Friesen (1985) perceives educational institutions' role as critical in fostering understanding o f cultural differences for all Canadian citizens. Equality o f education requires a serious re-examination o f the hidden curriculum with the aim o f including components o f various cultures in the school curriculum and activities. In Canada, most urban school boards, as in Toronto, Ottawa, Winnipeg and Vancouver, have implemented some reform with the aim to provide a more inclusive curriculum. However, because education is a provincial responsibility, the federal government has little power to ensure any uniformity in the implementation o f multicultural education policies. This situation has led to the implementation o f various models o f multicultural education in Canada that leaves much to be desired. In the  Legacy of  Learners, the report of the Royal Commission on Education for British Columbia, Sullivan (1988) acknowledges that with multicultural policy, the social agenda constructed for schools should be more complex and broadened to accommodate cultural, racial, ethnic, religious, gender and linguistic differences. Sullivan emphasizes that: This commitment to multiculturalism means that we also look to schools to foster healthy intergroup attitudes, to break down cultural stereotyping and to organize themselves in ways that ensure equality o f treatment and equality o f access for all minorities. This commitment means, too, that we look to schools to preserve cultural heritages through language instruction and studies in history, geography, art, music and drama, to remind us who we are today and from what culture we once came. Similarly, it means also that we look to schools to help solve the special learning problems faced by some minorities. A n d , finally, we look to the schools to do all these things without obscuring their larger educational vision, (p. 28) With the enormous challenges to schools and educators, multiculturalism needs to be approached as a progressive, innovative and a dynamic program that can affectively influence various levels o f Canadian society. In developing a school program for a multiethnic setting, Wright and Coombs (1991)  52  suggest six areas that may form the foundation for dealing reasonably with the complex task o f providing equal opportunity for all Canadians. First, "developing a conception o f person or humanity" may enable us to recognize the common needs o f society. Second, "developing a sense o f self-worth" may assure people that their values, abilities and contributions are important and appreciated. Third, "developing a sense o f society" is important to ensure that collective rights and responsibilities stand as the key to the cohesion o f community. Fourth, "developing an understanding o f the concepts o f prejudice, stereotyping and racism" is an important strategy for dealing with them. Fifth, "developing an understanding o f what harms people" is important to reveal all other factors that hurt people both physically and psychologically. Finally, "promoting good reasoning" is an important virtue, which enables individuals to understand social justice and participate fully in society. These principles, according to Wright and Coombs, cut across all cultural and ethnic groups when designing programs. The future direction and success o f multiculturalism requires both the government and public support and as Bagley, Coard and Friesen (1988) explain, " I f multiculturalism is to work, it needs support from the grass roots" (p. 30). To determine the grass root requires not only an understanding o f internal structures o f construction o f ethno-cultural groups, but also the examination o f the historical and social foundations o f the content o f a school curriculum and the structures that shape Canadian society. Nieto (1996) argues that multicultural education should not only concern itself with culture at the superficial level but also be active in challenging the societal power structure that has historically subordinated ethnic minorities and rationalized the educational failure o f members o f marginalized groups as being the results o f their perceived inherent deficiencies.  Defining Multicultural Education There is a massive body o f literature, theoretical pronouncements and research about providing education grounded in multicultural perspectives, with no consensus on what exactly constitutes multicultural education. Due to ambiguity curricula frameworks, textbooks and teacher education programs that claim to be "multicultural" often lack any coherent guiding philosophy. Consequently, diversity is incorporated simplistically into the art curriculum, often within a Eurocentric framework. Teachers' support for multicultural education, however, depends on the ways the innovation is understood  53 and conceptualized. What is understood by the term  multicultural education is varied, both in terms o f theory and  practice. It has become a slippery signifier onto which diverse groups project their hopes and fears. A s noted by Grant and Sleeter (1993), some theorists focus their work primarily on ethnic groups o f colour. Others conceptualize multicultural education more broadly to encompass race, class, gender and exceptionality - and the interactions o f these variables - as important components o f the field (Banks & Banks, 1993). A s an open concept, multicultural education is subject to multiple interpretations and often contradictions, thus permitting critics to reject its effectiveness as an aid in deciding educational policy, or to view it as a concept without theoretical underpinnings. Multicultural education seems to have lost its focus as it struggles to accommodate more issues. For instance, race and gender issues bump on each other frequently. There is also a weak link between theory and practice, which is interpreted as weak theory. Despite Canada's early multicultural history, it is difficult to speak o f a distinctively Canadian model o f multicultural education. Multicultural education in Canada has evolved as a collection o f perspectives cross-fertilized by American and British variants (Moodley, 1995). Different images o f Canadian society have attracted different responses from the provincial school systems. Officially, Canada abandoned the policy o f assimilation in managing diversity when it embraced multiculturalism in 1971. Nevertheless, many criticize multicultural ideas as little more than a glossy veneer that quietly endorses a more deceptive variant o f assimilation. Various models o f multicultural education have been advanced or practised in Canada (Coombs, 1986; Fleras & Elliot, 1992; M c L e o d , 1981; Ouellet, 1992; Young, 1979). Generally, they can be synthesised into five major approaches or meanings that represent the various ways that multicultural education is taught in English-speaking countries: 1) Human relations approach; 2) Education o f the culturally different; 3) Education for cultural pluralism; 4) Specific group studies approach; and 5) Multicultural and social reconstructionist approach ( E M C - S R ) (Grant & Sleeter, 1989; Sleeter & Grant, 1988): 1)  Human Relations Approach: This approach seeks to foster cultural understanding and positive relationships among individual members o f diverse racial and cultural groups, to strengthen each student's self-concept and to increase school and social harmony. This is a liberal pluralistic view that sees cultural diversity as intrinsically valuable and beneficial to society. The human relations  54 curriculum includes lessons about stereotyping, discrimination, ethnocentrism and individual differences and similarities. The human relations approach is grounded on an assumption that knowledge about cultures reduces inter-group conflict and increases opportunities for minorities. Teacher education based on this model prepares teachers to honour diverse student backgrounds and to promote cooperative learning and harmony among students. However, institutional discrimination, or real conflicts between groups, are often glossed over in lieu o f supporting the " I ' m O K , Y o u ' r e O K , Everybody is O K " ideology (Sleeter, 1992; Solomon & Levine-Rasky, 1994).  2)  Education o f the Culturally Different: This approach helps fit students into the existing social structure and culture. It builds bridges between the students' backgrounds and the schools. This approach accommodates students who are exceptional and/or culturally different by altering regular teaching strategies to match students' learning styles and by using culturally relevant materials. Education that prepares teachers for teaching culturally different children would, by extension, not question the dominant culture's traditional aims. Rather, the emphasis would be on techniques for building bridges between children and their schools and helping students to master an official language and adapt to the norms o f the dominant culture. The problem o f cultural discontinuity remains for the student ( M c L e o d , 1992).  3)  Education for Cultural Pluralism: This approach promotes social equality and cultural pluralism. It stresses that all cultures warrant equal respect and value. Curriculum, in this approach, is organized around the contributions and perspectives o f different cultural groups. Cultural content can be assessed from the perspective o f the "insider." It pays close attention to equity in terms o f gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, social class, language, age and physical ability. This approach to multicultural education also builds on students' learning styles, adapts to their skill level and actively involves students in thinking and analyzing life situations. It encourages native language maintenance for students whose first language is not English and multilingual acquisition for all students (Banks, 1993; Moodley, 1995; Nieto, 1996).  4)  Single Group Studies Approach: This approach promotes social structural equality and immediate recognition o f the cultures o f groups whose identities are at risk. Usually implemented in the form o f ethnic studies, or women's studies, this approach assumes that because o f past curriculum biases, knowledge about particular oppressed groups should be taught separately from conventional classroom knowledge in either separate units or separate courses. The single group approach seeks to raise people's consciousness concerning an identified group by teaching both its members and all others about the history, culture and contributions o f that group, as well as how  55 that group has been oppressed by, or has worked with, the dominant group in society. Although the ultimate goal o f such programs is the accommodation and maintenance o f diversity, they can be exclusionary in their group-specific nature (Dei, 1996; M c L e o d , 1992).  5)  Multicultural and Social Reconstructionist Approach: This approach extends previous approaches and teaches students to critically analyze social inequality and oppression by helping them to develop skills for social action. This approach encompasses "anti-racist education" and "critical pedagogy." It entails direct challenge to societal power structure, racism and social inequalities. This approach promotes social structural equality and cultural pluralism and prepares students to work actively toward equality for all people (Grant, 1992, pp. 21-22; Nieto, 1996, p. x v i i ; Turner, 1994, p. 408).  These notions o f multicultural education contain many contradictions and the categories are not mutually exclusive, or as distinct as their labels seem to suggest. Culture is the central category while inequality, power and racism are infrequently mentioned. In Canada, M c L e o d (1992) identifies three approaches to multicultural education namely:  ethnic specific, problem oriented and cultural/intercultural  models. The ethnic specific model has the characteristics o f single group studies approach. Ethno-cultural groups in Canada that have established separate school programs include the Ukrainian, Hutterite and Mennonite schools in Alberta, Chinese, Hebrew and Greek schools in Ontario and Quebec and Punjabi and Hebrew schools in British C o l u m b i a (Moodley, 1995). There is a crucial difference between segregated schools imposed by the dominant group and those developed from within subordinated communities. The goals o f the latter are generally to provide excellent and affirming educational experiences for students who have been dismissed, or isolated by the traditional schools, whereas the goals of the former are usually to maintain social hierarchies. Taking into account a variety o f multicultural perspectives, self-segregated schools face some serious challenges and criticism. These include a tendency to create new myths in place o f old ones, and the segregation o f students by ethnicity, race and gender. A problem-oriented approach involves proactive and reactive programs that help immigrants to adapt to Canadian society and to respond to issues o f racism and other forms o f inequality. M a n y o f the immigrant service providers in Canada have adopted this approach to cultural education. The cultural/intercultural model promotes education for cultural pluralism. Its overarching values are equality o f access and shared  56 ownership. In Canada, multicultural education is located within a consensus paradigm. For most educators, differences are to be gently reaffirmed along guiding threads o f similarities. Some teachers' noncommitment to multicultural education signals their ideological opposition to the national policy o f multiculturalism. A s noted earlier, one study found that, as long as multicultural education is conceptualized as the encouragement o f respect for minority cultural traditions, rather than curriculum mainstreaming o f diverse cultural traditions, its support among educators from the dominant group remained high (Solomon & Levine-Rasky, 1994). Such conceptualization o f multicultural education is based on the belief that multiculturalism may undermine the dominant culture, Eurocentrism or A n g l o centrism in Canadian society. Thus, defence o f "Canadianism" may well be a thinly veiled disguise for Anglo-conformity. The dominant culture does not necessarily mean the culture o f the predominant ethnic group in terms o f demographics but rather, it refers to the social practices and representations that affirm the central values, concerns and interests o f the social class in control o f the material and cultural capital o f society. Some o f what Jean Baker M i l l e r (1976) has to say about the relationship between dominant and subordinate groups would appear to explain the general lukewarm attitude o f mainstream Canadians toward multicultural education: A dominant group, inevitably, has the greatest influence in determining a culture's overall outlook - its philosophy, morality, social theory, [education] and even its science. The dominant group, thus, legitimizes the unequal relationship and incorporates it into society's guiding concepts . . . It follows from this that dominant groups generally do not like to be told about, or even quietly reminded o f the existence o f inequality. ' N o r m a l l y ' they can avoid awareness because their explanation o f the relationship becomes so well integrated in order terms; they can even believe that both they and the subordinate group share the same interests and, to some extent a common experience. . . . Clearly, inequality has created a state o f conflict. Yet, dominant groups w i l l tend to suppress conflict. They w i l l see any questioning o f the ' n o r m a l ' situation as threatening; activities by subordinates in this direction w i l l be perceived with alarm. Dominants are usually convinced that the way things are, is right and good, not only for them but, especially, for the subordinates. A l l morality confirms this view and all social structure sustains it. (pp. 6-8) This situation vividly elucidated by M i l l e r above, engenders continuous marginality o f multicultural education to the mainstream curricula, thereby undermining efforts to explore and engage in deeper analysis o f culture and power. In order for art educators to transcend their articulated conservative conceptualizations o f  57 multiculturalism toward a more holistic and inclusive model, concerted effort must be made to: move multicultural curricula beyond superficial practices to a deeper level o f literacy embedded in cultural pluralism and cultural group studies such as Africentric, Asiacentric and Aboriginalcentric pedagogies; move from institutional marginalization o f minority cultural knowledge forms to curriculum centrality; and develop an understanding that the movement from ethno-cultural injustices to social justice w i l l be conflictual, disharmonious and resisted by opponents. To bring about any real change in the relationship between Black/African-Canadian students and students from other cultural groups, multiculturalists must adopt not only the liberal pluralistic approaches but also eclectic approaches that incorporate the transformative political agenda embedded in single-group studies approach (i.e., African-centred knowledge and Asian-centred knowledge), cultural pluralism and the social reconstructionist approach. A truly holistic and inclusive approach w i l l avoid competition and judgement. A commitment to multicultural education reflects the premise that those secure in their cultural heritage w i l l concede a similar right to others whose cultural identities are at risk.  Multiculturalism and A r t Education Since the adoption o f the policy o f multiculturalism for Canada in 1971, there has been a growing expectation that schools w i l l broaden their agenda to embrace cultural, ethnic, religious, gender and linguistic differences. Unfortunately, schools have made little progress in reforming the art curricula to better serve children from diverse cultural backgrounds, particularly Black children who have experienced a long history o f racial discrimination in Canada. Multicultural art education calls for the restructuring o f art and art education from its Eurocentric focus to reflect the multicultural background o f students. The Getty Centre for Education in the Arts, through its Discipline-Based A r t Education project ( D B A E ) has had tremendous influence on art education curricula in North America. Although D B A E has evolved from an elitist concept to a dynamic curriculum movement that is open to multiple views, it falls short o f assuming a more aggressive and proactive role in serving the needs o f minorities. Multicultural education concerns itself with the relationship between cultures, between student and teacher, between school and society. It concerns itself not only with the understanding o f cultural  58 differences, but also with the positive endorsement o f such differences. It creates opportunity for the recognition o f similarities that exist between individuals and groups, the plurality o f the ethnic and cultural backgrounds o f these individuals and the acceptance o f such plurality. A s Best (1986) notes, "the identity o f a human being and the character o f his thoughts and feelings cannot intelligibly be regarded as independent o f his culture" (p. 34). He also points out that the failure to try to understand the different criteria o f other societies creates a tendency to depreciate them. Cultural expression through the arts is central in promoting the presence, identity and socio-political involvement o f the Black community in Canada. A s an educational tool, art at its fundamental level is multidimensional. It is timeless and dynamic, like an organism that continually develops meaning over time and space as their various contexts provide (Chanda, 1998). Re-imagining historical and cultural meanings as dynamic w i l l allow us to move away from our personal, egocentric viewpoint and embrace a broader construct that relates to a collective history. M a n y art educators (e.g., D i B l a s i o & Park, 1983; Feldman, 1976) point out that art programs can help build a positive ethnic self-image by reinforcing the artistic heritage o f these students. A r t does not only bridge the gap between cultures and promote the transmission o f cultural heritage (Boughton, 1986), but it is also a strong means o f fostering unity and enhancing cross-cultural understanding o f similarities and differences. Although there are different conceptions and functions o f art among cultures, there are also common concepts and functions that could be identified. Both the differences and commonalities must be celebrated in multicultural art education. There is a presumption that inter-group conflict can be reduced with cultural literacy, especially, when it affirms and celebrates cultural differences and similarities (Solomon & Levine-Rasky, 1994). It is this understanding and appreciation o f differences that Grigsby (1986) says creates bonds between people. Multicultural art education instils a sense o f integrity and dignity in children and, as Feldman (1976) adds, renews cultural identity and pride from generation to generation. Although building pride in one's cultural roots through positive exposure to artistic heritage may not automatically rehabilitate individuals who have experienced years o f marginalization, it can, in the long run, help to validate the existence o f a particular self with particular heritage (Collins & Sandell, 1992). Through the discipline-  59 based methods o f art teaching, students from all cultures could gain knowledge o f the art from other cultures by understanding the context in which the art was created and the function o f the work o f art in that society. This understanding, laying the groundwork, could help them extend this learning to their own cultures and discover through art that culture is not a hermetically sealed unit. They would be enabled to see that, behind the cloud o f cultural diversity, there are common interests. Consequently, as D i B l a s i o and Park (1983) note, including art exemplars from diverse ethnic groups during instruction would not only benefit the mainstream culture but would also serve to bolster ethnic pride and reinforce collective cultural identity among the minority group. This is a major "multicultural" argument - the belief that incorporating other forms o f knowledge and cultural perspectives into the dominant curriculum w i l l benefit all students. The vast majority o f students are ignorant or misinformed about the bountiful reservoirs o f African-Canadian, African-American and continental African histories, cultures and contributions to the world. M a n y Canadians are ignorant not only about the ideas and achievements o f Martin Luther K i n g , Cheikh Anta Diop and countless other Black personalities who have helped to shape the course o f society, but also about the history o f Canadian Blacks and their contribution, particularly during the settlement o f N o v a Scotia, Ontario, the prairies and British Columbia. Raised on a diet o f Western history, colonial discourses, Eurocentrism, "Tarzan books and films" (which have resurfaced recently in a more subtle tone), racist myths and fears, stereotypes and sensational news media, many unsuspecting youths in North A m e r i c a have come to conceive o f Africa as a jungle, a large village, a land o f the grotesque, or at best a poor country inhabited by w i l d animals and "savages" and "tribal people." But in fact, Africa o f a H o l l y w o o d movie is often very different from the Africa that really exists. Palaeontologists make us aware that human life started in Africa many millions o f years ago and then spread to the rest o f the world. Africa is where humans first learned to use fire, make tools and create art. It is truly the cradle o f civilization. Africa is the land o f lost kingdoms and ancient cities. The empires o f the N i l e flourished in Egypt and N u b i a from 3100 until 400 B . C . E . (Krieger, et al., 1997) (see Figure 2.5 for map). The kingdom o f Ethiopia has been traced to about 300 B . C . E . The royal empires o f Western Sudan - Ghana, M a l i and Songhai - and their ancient cities o f Awdoghast, Gao, Jenne, K u m b i Saleh, Tangier and Timbuktu thrived between 500 C . E . and 1700 C . E . (see Figure 2.6 for map). A t their peak, these empires rivalled those o f  60 Europe at the time. Modern Africa is the home to about 14 per cent o f the world's population and with more than 1000 different languages. It is the second largest continent consisting o f 54 different independent and separate countries (see Figure 2.7 for current map o f Africa). This enormous diversity coupled with the artificially created national boundaries by the colonial powers (during the Berlin Congress o f 1884-85), creates unique challenges regarding political stability, peaceful coexistence and economic development. The task o f reclaiming African humanity is a significant dimension o f the Africentric vision and o f the process o f de-colonization. Teaching children facts about Black people and their cultures w i l l encourage students to develop awareness o f themselves, others and the existing social structure that impact on their lives. It may also provide information and the tools for improving relations among ethnic groups that have historically lived in physical and psychological isolation from each other. In order to achieve the goals o f multicultural art education, Twiggs (1990) stresses the need for educators to become familiar with the culture o f their students, both lived-in and inherited cultures. For the Black/African-Canadian students, ideas such as mutual interdependence, group unity, resilience and the role o f religion, extended family traditions and motherhood must be considered when designing an African-centred art curriculum. The sources and promotion o f traditional African education are community based, originating in the symbolic interchanges in village life (Asante & Asante, 1985). Stuhr, PetrovichM w a n i k i and Wasson (1992) advance five positions, which are relevant for teaching art in a multicultural context: 1) a student/community-centred education process in which the teacher must access and utilize the students' socio-cultural values and beliefs and those o f the cultures o f the community when planning art curricula; 2) an approach that acknowledges teaching as a cultural and social intervention and which alerts teachers to be aware o f their own cultural and social biases; 3) an anthropologically-based method for identifying socio-cultural groups and their accompanying values and practices which influence aesthetic production; 4) the use o f culturally responsive pedagogy that represents the socio-cultural and ethnic diversity existing in the classroom, community and the nation; and 5) a focus on the dynamic complexity o f factors that affect all human interactions such as physical and mental ability, class, gender, age, politics, religion and ethnicity. These socio-anthropological positions seek a more democratic approach whereby  61  F i g u r e 2.5  M a p o f Northeast A f r i c a showing E g y p t and A n c i e n t N u b i a Note: From N u b i a : Ancient Kingdoms o f Africa (p. 11) by J. L . Haynes, 1992, Boston: Museum of Fine Arts.  62  Figure 2.6  Map of Ancient African Kingdoms showing Ancient Ghana, M a l i and Songhai Note: From W o r l d History: Perspectives on the Past (p. 321) b y L . S. Krieger, K . N e i l l and E . Reyno 1997, Evanston, Illinois: M c D o u g a l L i t t e l l .  63  F i g u r e 2.7  M a p of A f r i c a s h o w i n g V a r i o u s C o u n t r i e s Note: From Contemporary Art of Africa (p. 18) by A . M a g n i n and J. Soulillou (Eds.), 1996, N e w Y o r k : Harry N . Abrams, Inc., Pub.  64 the disenfranchised are also given a voice in art education process. This study is in line with the multicultural education principles outlined by Stuhr, PetrovichM w a n i k i and Wasson. It suggests the infusion o f Africentric art content into the mainstream curriculum through a student/community-centred approach, and with culturally responsive pedagogy, that meets the needs o f Blacks and minority students. A s Zimmerman (1990) indicates, "African art can be used as a vehicle for understanding distinctions between appreciating a work o f art from any culture and understanding its cultural origins and the context in which it was created" (p. 9). It can therefore be included as a strand in a pluralistic approach to art education. Collins and Sandell (1992), however, argue that the arts o f non-mainstream cultures are not insulated against ideological bias and oppressive elements. Therefore, they caution advocates o f pluralistic approaches to multicultural education to be critical o f other forms o f artistic and cultural knowledge that mimics the gender bias and imperialistic disposition o f Western art. While the argument o f non-neutrality o f non-Western art forms seems plausible, it must be emphasized that power has been the underlying factor behind the hierarchical distinction between Western and non-Western art. Those with power have used it to enhance the status o f their art at the expense o f the powerless. African art is presented here as a non-hegemonic source o f a multicentric curriculum. Its ideological and philosophical positions are examined to identify any ambiguity, contradiction and biases. Africa is rich in every aspect o f human art. A s the cradle o f civilization and the home o f many art forms, it has shared its spirit with every continent. Best (1986) states that: It is the consciousness o f other cultures which allows us more fully to appreciate our own and to extend our understanding o f rationality and humanity by imaginatively entering into the activities o f other societies which have some significant relation to art in ours . . . The contribution o f education, or o f engagement with the arts o f other cultures is to stimulate a process o f dialectical interaction . . . W i t h open mind and willingness to learn one can extend and enrich one's artistic conceptions in an encounter with another culture, (pp. 41-42) W i t h the experience o f a long history o f racial discrimination and educational inequities and underachievement, Black/African students need a form o f multicultural education to compensate for educational inequity as well as a broader view o f world art history and contributions. The dominance o f Eurocentrism in art education has not served Black students well. Their cultural background, identity and heritage are often marginalized in the curriculum. African art within multicultural environment w i l l not  65 only permit the use o f African-centred knowledge and pedagogy but w i l l also provide identity-based knowledge that speaks directly to those struggling to define themselves within the mosaic o f multi cultures in Canada. It also has the potential o f enhancing cross-cultural learning and for connecting students' experiences with mainstream culture leading students and educators not only to question the dominance o f Eurocentric curricula but also to actively seek for cultural equity through inclusive curricula.  Approaches to Multicultural Art Education A variety o f curriculum approaches and teaching methodologies and strategies have been suggested for teaching art in a multicultural classroom. A m o n g them are: the Discipline-Based A r t Education ( D B A E ) , Multicultural Discipline-based A r t Education ( M D A E ) and Feminist Approaches to art education. Both D B A E and M D A E profess a discipline-based approach to art teaching and they could be employed to teach art in a multicultural classroom. The difference is that M D A E assumes a more crosscultural perspective, however, these models, i f skilfully implemented, could help art educators become more competent in handling the challenges o f multicultural art education. One o f the main goals o f feminist art educators is to uncover mechanisms by which gender discrimination is perpetuated in art education, in order to develop effective strategies to counter it. Feminist art education analyzes social systems and their representations o f women and minorities in the art world and explores alternative approaches to art education. It is a political ideology with varied perspectives within a broader political struggle. These approaches are not mutually exclusive. Despite their ideological differences, these models share a common focus in dealing with the socio-cultural aspects o f art education.  Discipline-Based A r t Education ( D B A E ) Discipline-based art education ( D B A E ) is undoubtedly the most discussed and written about approach to art education in the recent past in North America. The Getty Centre for Education in the Arts ( G C E A ) , now the Getty Education Institute for the Arts, became a catalyst for reform in art education by arguing that: art education is as fundamentally important for personal development as training in Mathematics, English and Science. It nurtures imaginative cognition. It develops understanding and appreciation  66 o f man's highest artistic achievements. It deepens understanding o f culture and history. A n d it sharpens perceptive and analytical skills that are vital for higher order mental tasks. ( G C E A , 1984, p.l) Although the idea o f D B A E had first evolved during the 1960s, its theory was not fully developed or integrated with actual practice in the classroom until the 1980s. Through extensive consultations with professionals and academics in the field, the Getty Centre adopted Discipline-Based A r t Education ( D B A E ) in 1982 as a vital approach to ensure a serious place for art in the public schools. In D B A E , four fundamental art disciplines o f aesthetics, art criticism, art history and studio production are integrated in a written sequential curriculum whose content leads to cumulative knowledge, skills and understanding in art in grade K to 12 (Dobbs, 1989). Clark, Day and Greer (1987) extended the ideas first set out by Greer (1984) in a monograph sponsored by the Getty Centre. They pointed out that works o f art present us with complex meanings and to comprehend such meanings require the cultivation o f abilities to explain them. D B A E therefore became an appropriate response to the challenges posed in interpreting works o f art. D B A E curriculum seeks to promote egalitarian values. It does not serve only the talented, but also provides for the majority o f students and teachers who do not have a particular bent for being creative or artistic. With D B A E , "it is no longer as important to express one's inner self as it is to function as an informed and intellectual member o f society" (Moore, 1991, p. 38). Differences o f opinion regarding the relegation o f studio activity and non-Western art to a minor rather than a central position have generated some levels o f confrontation within the field o f art education. Those in favour o f studio-centred approach to art education (London, 1988; Zessoules, Wolfe, & Gardner, 1988) accused the Getty Centre for promoting D B A E as an elitist approach to art education and for ignoring other cultural perspectives. In their zeal to elevate art to the level o f an academic discipline, art educators gave little consideration to issues o f gender and diversity that were germane to the socio-cultural foundations o f art. A s early as the 1970s, Chalmers (1973, 1974, 1978), Grigsby (1977), M c F e e (1971), and M c F e e and Degge (1977) drew attention to the sociological and anthropological dimensions o f art. But it was not until the early 1990s that the G C E A began to welcome new voices and multiple perspectives on D B A E . In his book Art and  Ethnics: Backgroundfor Teaching Youth in a Pluralistic Society (1977), Eugene Grigsby, an AfricanAmerican art educator, demonstrated how art education could be used to heighten awareness and  67 sensitivity o f children toward multicultural and multi-environmental perspectives. M c F e e and Degge (1977) also recommended that art educators learn about other art, exemplified in non-Western traditions. They emphasized that a major purpose o f art education is "to give teachers a somewhat broader basis for understanding how art functions in society generally and how functions are varied in meaning and style in any one specific society that has an identifiable culture pattern o f values and attitudes" (p. 28). Chalmers, in his three articles, reiterates the need for a socio-cultural foundation o f art education that would complement the historical, philosophical and psychological perspectives o f the aesthetic education movement. Chalmers is particularly effective in articulating the concern that non-Western cultures were not represented as subject matters for study in D B A E . These works implicitly question the pretence o f D B A E to democratic praxis and the notion o f a universally applicable objective criterion for evaluation in art. D B A E purports to be universal, both in terms o f theoretical content and practice. However, its theoretical underpinning and formalist teaching methodologies are constructed to reflect the attitudes, beliefs, values and biases o f the dominant Euro-Western culture. That D B A E emanates from a Eurocentric patriarchal ideology is unquestionable. Its historical component does not offer any insight into the history of the art o f non-Western cultures since it focuses only on the history o f the art o f the West (Calvert, 1988). Dobbs (1989) explains that the Eurocentric perspective o f D B A E stems from the training, knowledge, experience and values o f professionals in the art disciplines, which in turn have been shaped by the overwhelming emphasis on European art prevalent in their own schooling. Within such context, it is not surprising that art education is perceived from a Eurocentric perspective. The problem, however, is that in a multicultural milieu, such a curriculum acts as a form o f oppression for those students whose experiences are incongruent with the world view that such knowledge affirms. Thus, in spite o f the promise o f D B A E many multiculturalists continue to question whether it is capable o f recognizing and addressing issues o f diversity. Since the beginning o f this decade, there has been an encouraging response in D B A E to embrace issues o f feminism and multiculturalism. This is evident from the Getty Centre's  DBAE Handbook (Dobbs,  1992), which supports curricula built around diverse art traditions. Under the leadership o f Thandiwee  68 Michael Kandall, issues o f gender and multiculturalism appeared on the centre stage o f Getty's agenda on D B A E (Kandall, 1993). Some o f the central themes emerging from the Third Issues Seminar on D B A E included the need to address biases and the problem o f context in art education; the need for new curricula materials and images in the classroom; and the need to attain equity and human rights through educational programs (Kandall, 1993). Dwaine Greer (1993) responds to the controversies that have surrounded D B A E since its inception in 1984 by concluding that: D B A E now seems to define art more broadly, includes art o f other cultures, seems to no longer promote only the 100 canons o f art made by dead white Euro-American males, seems to embrace the "popular arts" as worthy o f serious consideration, no longer equates aesthetics only with ae