I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

Learning Path 1

Learning Path 2

Documentary Film

Discriminatory polices and equality are often the subject of documentary films. Choose or find a documentary film, watch it, and share your notes, reflections, opinions etc. as part of your interview process.

Racism A History
The Ascent of Woman
Continuous Journey (Komagata Maru)
Japanese Internment

In Canada

In America

Residential Schools


In unit 4 many of you created podcasts of your own; now is your opportunity to check out some professionally produced social-justice themed podcasts. Please consider taking notes, journaling your thoughts or providing some tangible physical inclusion for your portfolio. For more podcasts, visit this list (where I found these podcasts and descriptions).

The Sanctuary Movement - US churches openly defying the government over refugees in the 1980s

“Throughout the 1980s nearly a million Central Americans crossed the U.S. border fleeing violently repressive dictatorships and seeking asylum. Official policy under the Reagan administration greatly hindered Central Americans from obtaining asylum status. Congress forbade foreign aid to countries committing human rights abuses, and, at same time, the U.S. provided funds, training and arms to the Salvadoran and Guatemalan governments. Because admitting these governments’ abuses would bar the U.S. from providing further aid, the Reagan administration instead argued that Central Americans were “economic migrants” fleeing poverty, not governmental repression.

In response to this the Sanctuary movement developed into over 500 churches and congrations in the United States which, by declaring themselves official “sanctuaries,” openly defied the government and committed to providing shelter, protection, material goods and often legal advice to Central American refugees. Part 1 of this podcast from 99% Invisible looks at the origins and faith-based rationale of the movement, and part details the surveillance and crack down of the US government.”

Listen to it here
81 Words - How the American Psychiatric Association decided in 1973 that being gay wasn't a mental illness

“In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) declared that homosexuality was not a disease simply by changing the 81 word definition of sexual deviance in its own reference manual. The presenter’s grandfather was part of a clandestine progressive wing within the APA that consciously organised in order to hijack the larger, more conservative organisation and force through the change. What’s fascinating in this story from This American Life is the interplay of the ‘change from within’ actors coming up against very visible and confrontational ‘change from without’ activists from the emerging gay rights movement who hijacked the stage during the APA conference.”

Listen to it here
The foot soldier of Birmingham, Alabama.

“Birmingham, 1963. The image of a police dog viciously attacking a young black protester shocks the nation. The picture, taken in the midst of one of Martin Luther King Jr.’s most famous marches, might be the most iconic photograph of the civil rights movement. But few have ever bothered to ask the people in the famous photograph what they think happened that day. It’s more complicated than it looks. This episode of Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History talks about the complexities of engaging in and remembering activism and efforts for social change.”

Listen to it here
Poster Presentation

Create a visual aid which will help you discuss a specific instance of discrimination or discriminatory policies in Canadian or world history. 11″ by 17″ or larger. Think of this as a mini-version of the inquiry posters we completed in unit 4. Consider creating a digital rather than physical poster.

Courtney Vitale for End Discrimination Poster

“Immigration reform has become a hot-button political issue, with some of the most xenophobic politicians vowing to keep people out of America since ‘they are stealing our jobs.’ Not to be outdone by the racism-laced messaging on part of public representatives, Courtney Vitale wants to set the record straight through her typographic creations. The Philadelphia-based designer wants to put an end to prejudice against other cultures in her own way, culminating in a project ‘End Discrimination.’”

From DesignMantic

Slam Poetry

We saw in unit 5 how artists contributed to and responded to issues of national identity; of course artists also tackle other contemporary issues. Write and optionally perform slam poetry on the topic of discrimination. The poem can be tied to a specific type of discrimination or can be more general. Watch Shane Koyczan’s “To This Day Project” for inspiration!

To This Day Project - Shane Koyczan
PowerPoint Presentation

Create a PowerPoint presentation that effectively addresses a discriminatory policy or discrimination more generally.

Sample PowerPoint on Japanese Internment in the US
Charter, Manifesto or Call to Action

Address a perceived injustice by outlining your ideals in the form of a charter, manifesto or call to action.

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen
Truth and Reconciliation Committee of Canada's Calls to Action

Research and form a thesis on a chosen topic on the theme of discrimination. Write an essay with a clear introduction, body and conclusion.

Thesis Statements: Four Steps to a Great Essay
Sample Rubric, ie. the kinds of things I'm looking for
Question: Is Apu a Problem?

Present a well-developed argument (visually, essay or paragraph form, PowerPoint) as to why or why not Apu from the Simpsons is problematic in terms of racial discrimination.

Notes and reflections: your choice of text

Take notes, or reflect upon an journal or magazine article or text chapter which deals with a specific case of discrimination, or discrimination more generally.

Reflection: Discrimination

Share your thoughts on discrimination informally. Consider these prompts:

  • When have I experienced or observed discrimination?
  • What are my thoughts on racial, gender, sex, or religious discrimination?
  • How does Canada’s recent movement to right discriminatory wrongs (official apologies, commissions etc.) make me feel… what about in terms of my national identity?
  • How do Canada’s discriminatory histories change my view of my national identity?
  • Will the world ever be rid of discrimination?
  • Is discrimination learned or is it biologically innate?
  • Are all people equal? How or how not?

Why learn about tenses anyway?