After Monday's disappointing lesson, I approached Tuesday's lesson a bit differently. I collected a variety of articles and videos for students to explore, and they had to come up with a verdict: not guilty, manslaughter, and second degree murder. Overwhelmingly, students believed that the correct verdict would have been manslaughter. I think they had an easier time with this, because it didn't involve the hard topic of race. That said, discussions of race and racism and the resulting injustices will never not be a part of my teaching.
I'm still concerned that some* students don't see that racism is a real problem in Canada. I am trying to understand that it can be difficult for people to see the benefits that their race affords them. I am trying to understand that it can be difficult for people to see that our beloved Canada has numerous systemic and institutional problems. I am trying to understand that it can be difficult for people to believe that it's not just their hard work that they're successful, but rather the situation they were born into gave them a head start.
It's much easier to believe the racism is a problem elsewhere (ie. the United States); it's much harder to believe that racism is a problem in your own country.
As many people have encouraged me, it's important to make students aware of the hard truths, and trust that one day their perspectives will change.
*I had a student tell me today that he did some of his own exploration on Reddit, and he was shocked and disgusted by the comments about Indigenous people. He then connected back to our class on Monday, and shared that he couldn't believe that some students believed the comments were "just trolling" and didn't mean anything.