Gay high school and marginalised minorities

19 12 2008

180px-harvey_milk_high_school_entrance_by_david_shankboneA newly expanded gay-themed high school began the school year Monday with about 100 students attending classes, about 200 supporters rallying outside and a small band of protesters demonstrating against it. Since 1985, Harvey Milk High School has served students who are gay or believed to be gay, but its recent… (read more)

In Toronto they have one, too. As well as a school for Black students. Here in Montreal, we have a school for Italian Kids and for Jewish kids. I’m not sure this is such a good idea, though. I understand that the point of schools like those is to create an environment safe for its student (in the case of homosexuality), or to create a sense of belonging and pride, or to prevent student to drop out of school, or to preserve a cultural heritage that tends to get lost in the larger Canadian society. But could you imagine if everyone starts to go to schools like this? There would be not unity, no understanding of the “others”. Quebeckers have experienced a lot situations like this I guess I could say. Not going into the details, but to be a minority in your own country contributed to the climate of “Us” and “Them”. At a large scale level, it is exactly why I am against the separation of Quebec. I think it is ridiculous. Why not focusing on zero tolerance for discrimination, fighting ignorance, and promoting curiosity of different cultures instead ?

In the last few years, a new program was installed in Quebec (at least in the French system, I’m not sure about the english system) called “Éthique et Culture Religieuse” which means Ethics and religious culture. It’s basically a program that focuses on discovering and learning more about different religions. In high school, a little bit of philosophy is added to it. I took this course for the two last years of high school and I absolutely liked it. Partly because of the teachers, they were so funny and so good. Anyway, my point is : this should be the solution. To stop sticking to the traditional way of education, you know ? Add new things as society evolves, courses about cultural diversity, for example.

In the past, people fought so that Blacks and Whites could go to school together. Why separating them again ? To me, it is the same thing as saying “Oh, well, on second thought, that was a bad idea. Let’s segregate again.” It’s a shame.

460595XSo far, I’ve always went to private schools. My parents wanted the best for me so I went in one of the best high school in Montreal. It’s just now that I’m in CEGEP that I stopped wearing a uniform to go to school (can you believe this ? 11 years of light-colored shirts and dark skirts!). I decided to go in the public system for college. I had enough of snobish rich people and I am happier now, I think. What I like the most about public schools is the diversity. There is always something happening, so much different clubs (Black Unions, Muslim Associations, Gay-Straight alliances and so on)… This is how school should be. In my snob, rich, perfectionist high school, most people were white, nothing happened, everybody was dressed the same way to create this illusion of equality. It was just boring.  

I don’t think I would enjoy going in a gay high school. I like diversity too much. We should celebrate this diversity instead of marginalising it. Don’t you think ?

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