A young Black woman documents the systemic racism in her high school diary and calls for justice and educational reform.
The prevalence of anti-Black racism and its many faces, from racial profiling to police brutality, in North America is indisputable. How do we stop racist ideas and violence if the very foundation of our society is built upon white supremacy? How do we end systemic racism if the majority do not experience it or question its existence? Do our schools instill children with the ideals of equality and tolerance, or do they reinforce differences and teach children of colour that they don’t belong?
#BlackInSchool is Habiba Cooper Diallo’s high school journal, in which she documents, processes, and resists the systemic racism, microaggressions, stereotypes, and outright racism she experienced while being Black in school in Canada.
Powerful and eye-opening, Cooper Diallo illustrates how our schools reinforce rather than erode racism: the handcuffing and frisking of students of colour by police at school; one-dimensional, tokenistic curricula portraying Black people; and the constant barrage of overt racism from students and staff alike. She shows how systemic racism works, how it alienates and seeks to destroys a child’s sense of self. She shows how our institutions work to erase the lived experiences of Black youth and try to erase Black youth themselves.
Cooper Diallo’s words will resonate with some, but should shock, appall, and animate a great many more into action towards a society that is truly equitable for all.
Habiba Cooper Diallo was a finalist in the 2020 Bristol Short Story Prize, the 2019 Writers’ Union of Canada Short Prose Competition, and the 2018 London Book Fair Pitch Competition. Habiba lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and is an advocate and activist in support of women’s maternal health.
“A critical perspective on anti-black racism in the education system from the people we need to hear from most on this matter—Black students.” —Jael Richardson
"Diallo’s voice is fully realized, and it is the voice we need right now." —Quill & Quire
“Vivid, candid, and courageous. A must-read for all educators.” —Dolana Mogadime, Brock University
“A powerful, ‘must read’ accounting of the lived experiences of Blacknesses and anti-Black racism in schools…. It is a call for action from the forces of power to address the cancer of racism and anti-racist violence meted on Black bodies and the African humanity.” —George J. Sefa Dei, Director, Centre for Integrative Anti-Racism Studies, University of Toronto
"#BlackInSchool is an insightful and important reflection of the realities Black youth face in the Canadian education system. Habiba Cooper Diallo gives voice to the so often silenced Black youth of our generation.” —Uzoma Asagwara, Manitoba NDP MLA and Activist