Many children of colour have encountered some type of racism throughout their time in school, some from teachers, some from their peers. So, what can our peers do to prevent this from happening? And how can you make school a safer space for everyone? 

An important part of many students’ lives is their physical health and playing sports and to feel safe and have fun, but a report made by in CBC sports in 2020, examining key positions in sports teams in 56 universities in Canada shows that  “of the nearly 400 positions examined, only about 10 percent were held by Black, Indigenous or persons of colour (BIPOC). Only one of the 56 schools has a non-white athletic director.” 

The number of how many people of colour are being rejected from sports teams at universities is frightening and reveal how school athletics teams need to be more inclusive and more accepting of diversity on their teams. 

CBC sports also suggested ways schools can improve on being more inclusive, such as “publicly celebrating the achievements of BIPOC athletes so potential recruits know they wouldn’t be alone on a team;” as well as, “mandatory and continuous anti-racism training, and a shift in how athletes and coaches are recruited.” 

Contrast photo of a protester fighting for equal human rights in a black and white photo of a school.

Another area where schools can improve to prevent racism is how much school districts are teaching about historical racism. A study made by  UBC and the Angus Reid Institute which examined how much historical discrimination is being taught to children, stated that: “One-third  [of students] said they never learned anything about slavery in Canada; half said they didn’t learn of the internment of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War; 60% said schools didn’t teach them about the Chinese immigrant head tax, and 80% said the topic of the SS Komagata Maru, which carried refugees from India and was turned away in Vancouver, never came up in their classrooms.”

This study shows how much of an influence school, teachers, and coaches have on younger generations, and how much of a positive or negative impact they can have on our awareness, the mitigation of racism, and the way we think about others. Fortunately, we can take that to our advantage if society teaches children that every person is equal and that no person, regardless of colour, or wealth status, etc. is above another. The UBC study also shows how if elders in communities expose racism at an early age, it will help prevent racism in schools.

It is important to teach young teens and children to be careful in what they say, as they will soon be the future of society. We can also make our schools a safer environment if schools take initiative to prevent racism in schools. Parents and guardians also need to realize that they also hold a profound amount of power to teach their children about how to talk to others with kindness and as equals and to prevent their children from speaking racist comments in the school.