Dr. Carmen Gillies and Melchior Sysing
At this historical moment of worldwide anti-racism protests that have led to increased institutional support for anti-racism policies and practices, we—as teachers—must ask ourselves how we may contribute unknowingly to racial divisions. In particular, we believe a need exists to think critically about anti-racism messages communicated through social media. This research study is, in part, a response to changing social contexts. While anti-racist ideals have become increasingly accepted, we have also noticed a rise in rhetoric that fails to align with the central goals of anti-racist education. Furthermore, the culture of shaming those who do not agree with specific positions does not align with Indigenous epistemologies nor Canadian democratic principles.
Through a qualitative critical race participatory action research study with six self-identified anti-racist middle-years teachers, we seek to investigate how anti-racism messages transmitted to teachers through social media impact their classroom practice and lessons. We also seek to understand how the participants’ prior knowledge and experiences shape their interpretation and application of anti-racist messages communicated to them through social media.