Using the oral histories of Black women teachers, this presentation will explore the subtle and contradictory practices of racial and gender exclusion in Canadian schooling institutions. Building on what scholar and researcher, Frances Henry, describes as the “hidden curriculum,” this presentation will review the complex social relationships that receive little attention and research in educational studies because they address the intangible ‘ethos’ of schooling. Here, we will review how spaces of difference are created in schools and the ways we can account for the unconscious and culturally based values and attitudes that exist in educational practice. Embedded in ordinary actions in Canadian schools, the day-to-day, relatively subtle actions of racism and sexism worked to in strategic ways to undermine Black women teachers’ agency and legitimacy within schools.
Funké Aladejebi is a scholar of the twentieth century with a specialization in Black Canadian history. Her research and teaching interests focus on oral history, the history of education in Canada, Black Canadian women’s history, and transnationalism. Her forthcoming book, Schooling the System: A History of Black Women Teachers, explores the importance of Black Canadian women in sustaining their communities and preserving a distinct Black identity within restrictive gender and racial barriers.