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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Afrocentric education : what does it mean to Toronto’s black parents? Radebe, Patrick


The miseducation of Black students attending Toronto metropolitan secondary schools, as evinced by poor grades and high dropout rates among the highest in Canada, begs the question of whether responsibility for this phenomenon lies with a public school system informed by a Eurocentric ethos. Drawing on Afrocentric Theory, this critical qualitative study examines Black parents’ perceptions of the Toronto Africentric Alternative School and Afrocentric education. Snowball sampling and ethnographic interviews, i.e., semi-structured interviews, were used to generate data. A total of 12 Black parents, three men and nine women, were interviewed over a 5-month period and data analyzed. It was found that while a majority of the respondents supported the Toronto Africentric Alternative School and Afrocentric education, some were ambivalent and others viewed the school and the education it provides as divisive and unnecessary. The research findings show that the majority of the participants were enamored with Afrocentricity, believing it to be a positive influence on Black lives. While they supported TAAS and AE, the minority, on the other hand, opposed the school and its educational model. The findings also revealed a Black community, divided between a majority seeking to preserve whatever remained of (their) African identity and a determined minority that viewed assimilation to be in the best interests of Black students. It is recommended that the school adopt antiracist education; that it appoints a spokesperson to field public inquiries to counter adverse perceptions of the school and its programs; that it fosters an on-going dialogue between its supporters and critics; and, most importantly, that it takes steps aimed at rebuilding relations among the stakeholders, i.e., the school, Black parents, the Toronto District School Board and the community.

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