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Join the Anti-Racism Reads online event which will feature a group discussion on the book The Equity Myth: Racialization and Indigeneity at Canadian Universities.
We have copies of this book available at no cost to reduce barriers to participation. Please indicate when you register if you would like a copy.
Facilitator: Kwasi Sarfo, Associate Director, Anti-racism Response, University of Waterloo
Guest: Dr. Carl James, Jean Augustine Chair in Education, Community & Diaspora, York University, Faculty of Education
When: Thursday, April 6 | 3 to 4 p.m.
Where: Microsoft Teams
Find the book: Library's catalogue (Omni), W Store
The Equity Myth: Racialization and Indigeneity at Canadian Universities
The university is often regarded as a bastion of liberal democracy where equity and diversity are promoted and racism doesn’t exist. In reality, the university still excludes many people and is a site of racialization that is subtle, complex, and sophisticated. While some studies do point to the persistence of systemic barriers to equity and diversity in higher education, in-depth analyses of racism, racialization, and Indigeneity in the academy are more notable for their absence. The Equity Myth is the first comprehensive, data-based study of racialized and Indigenous faculty members’ experiences in Canadian universities.
Challenging the myth of equity in higher education, this book brings together leading scholars who scrutinize what universities have done and question the effectiveness of their equity programs. The authors draw on a rich body of survey data and interviews to examine the experiences of racialized faculty members across Canada who — despite diversity initiatives in their respective institutions — have yet to see changes in everyday working conditions. They also make important recommendations as to how universities can address racialization and fulfill the promise of equity in higher education.
A landmark study on racism in Canadian universities, The Equity Myth shows how the goal of achieving equity in higher education has been consistently promised, but never realized for racialized and Indigenous faculty members. It further reveals that the policies and diversity initiatives undertaken so far have only served to deflect criticism of a system that is doing little to change itself.
The book will be appeal to anyone interested in the issue of equity within the university setting. This includes faculty members from many disciplines; administrators at all levels; students and graduate students; and people interested in equity issues outside of academia.
— UBC Press
As Associate Director, Anti-Racism Response, Kwasi Sarfo responds to individual disclosures of racism from students, staff and faculty by providing support, advocacy and referrals based on individual needs. Kwasi identifies gaps in existing University policies and processes related to reporting and responding to racism and creates recommendations for Institutional consideration. Moreover, he maintains a case management system to track disclosures of racism on campus.
Kwasi graduated from the University of Ottawa’s Juris Doctor program and recently completed the Law Society of Ontario's Law Practice Program (LPP). Prior to law school, he was a community development worker at Green Change and a case manager at Horizons for Youth, organizations dedicated to improving the lives of those in the Jane-Finch community. These experiences gave him an understanding of the access to justice issues faced by marginalized individuals and were, in many ways, responsible for his decision to go to law school.
Kwasi has honed his research and writing skills not only in the classroom but through volunteer work as a law student volunteer at Pro Bono Ontario, assisting low-income clients and new immigrants with their legal issues. He articled in a family law firm in Brampton, Ontario, frequently appearing at the Ontario Court of Justice and the Superior Court to assist clients in their legal matters.
He holds a master’s degree in environmental studies from York University, which allowed him to explore anti-racism discourse critically, earning him the Unilever Canada Graduate Award in Environmental Studies for excellence in academic achievement and community involvement in sustainability.
In his last year of law school, Kwasi was nominated by the associate dean of the Faculty of Law for the University of Ottawa’s Legal Leaders for Diversity Trust Fund Award for his community involvement. Outside of work, you will find Kwasi working out at the gym or playing basketball with his friends.
Dr. Carl James
Dr. Carl E. James holds the Jean Augustine Chair in Education, Community and Diaspora in the Faculty of Education at York University and is the Senior Advisor on Equity and Representation in the Office of the Vice President of Equity, People and Culture. He is professor in the Faculty of Education and holds cross-appointments in the graduate programs in Sociology, Social and Political Thought, and Social Work. He is also served as Affirmative Action, Equity and Inclusivity Officer (2006-2020); was the Director of the York Centre on Education & Community (2008-2016) which he founded, and Director of the Graduate Program in Sociology (2007-2008).
James is widely recognized for his research contributions in the areas of intersectionality of race with ethnicity, gender, class and citizenship as they shape identification/identity; the ways in which accessible and equitable opportunities in education and employment account for the lived experiences of marginalized community members; and the complementary and contradictory nature of sports in the schooling and educational attainments of racialized students. In advocating on education for change, James documents the struggles, contradictions and paradoxes in the experiences of racialized students at all levels of the education system. In doing so, he seeks to address and move us beyond the essentialist, generalized and homogenizing discourses that account for the representation and achievements of racialized people — particularly Black Canadians — in educational institutions, workplaces, and society generally.