Interrogating Race : Black Youth and Education in Montreal

Type of resource
Interrogating Race : Black Youth and Education in Montreal
The author points out that an overwhelming majority of Black students in Quebec (87.4 percent) attend school in the French sector, while 12.6 percent go to English language schools. Accordingly, she expalins that the majority of what we know about Black youth in the province is informed by the French language literature, which tends to emphasize these youths’ educational trajectories in relation to their immigrant status, despite what for many are long family histories in the province. This literature signals that a significant number of Black students experience academic delays or drop out, and that many complete their high school studies in the adult education or vocational sectors. The few studies involving first person perspectives from Black students describe experiences of discrimination at school from peers and low academic expectations from school staff. The author notes that the small English language research on Black youth in Quebec speaks more consistently to the implications of race and is often informed by first person perspectives from Black youth, who identify low teacher expectations, lack of academic support, and poor treatment from teachers as the main obstacles at school. The author's qualitative research study builds on this research to help fill in the gaps in understanding why Black students in Quebec experience academic difficulties, derailment, and attrition, and how race is implicated in teachers’ and administrators’ poor perceptions and negative treatment of their Black students. Employing a Critical Race Theory in Education discursive framework, the author conducted a race analysis of data from focus groups with Black youth, Black and White teachers, and individual interviews with Black and White principals at three Montreal high schools, in both linguistic sectors. This data was obtained as part of the Black Communities Demographic Project’s (BCDP) education research. The BCDP was an extensive initiative that endeavored to better understand Montreal’s Black communities in areas including faith, immigration, criminal justice, and education. The youth focus group data-gathering process was informed by Youth Participatory Action research methodology (YPAR), wherein the BCDP youth researchers had central roles in co-designing the interview protocol and conducting the youth focus groups, as well as co-analyzing and co-disseminating the data. In this study the author examines the strengths and limitations of YPAR methodology in the context of the BCDP. She looks at what the Black youth focus group participants have to tell us about their schooling experiences, and how race, racism, and racialization figure in their perspectives. The author also looks at how race is deployed to discuss and identify the obstacles to Black students’ school success in White versus Black adult participant reflections. The author points out that the data makes evident the differences and contradictions between what Black students and Black teachers identify as the obstacles to school success and what White teachers and principals say about this topic. Black teachers and Black administrators identify the same barriers to Black student school success as Black students. The author's study also describes how race over-informs how White teachers and principals in both linguistic sectors perceive and treat their Black students.
PhD dissertation
McGill University
# of Pages
Celemencki, Jacqueline Marissa. “Interrogating Race : Black Youth and Education in Montreal.” PhD dissertation, McGill University, 2020.
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