ECS 210

Week 10. Single Stories

  1. How has your upbringing/schooling shaped how you “read the world?” What biases and lenses do you bring to the classroom? How might we unlearn / work against these biases?

Both my elementary and high school consisted of mainly white students and teachers. I believe that my initial biases on other cultures are a result of not growing up in a racially diverse environment. I also believe that this is due to the way my teachers chose to present the curriculum. Our current curriculum separates other cultures in a way that subjects them into a category of “other”. This is especially present in the social studies and history curriculum. We are taught about how white settlers “saved” African people from the slave industry, or how we separated our Indigenous peoples by forcing them into residential schools. This way of thinking suggests that white settlers are always the “heroes” or “saviours” for other cultures. As future teachers we must stop separating cultures in a way that suggests one needed saving. Instead of focussing on the differences between cultures, I argue that we need to begin focussing on what makes us similar. We must focus on how we relate to one another and find connections to broaden our lenses.

2.which “single stories” were present in your own schooling? Whose truth mattered? 

One of the most prominent single stories that was presented in my own schooling would be that countries such as Canada, United States, United Kingdom countries and Australia are better off economically than all other countries. As I am sure you noticed these are all countries that are predominantly white. It was not until I had the opportunity to travel across Europe that I had the opportunity to see the other side of the story. I met people from Mexico, Argentina, South Africa, Asia, Columbia, etc, who all had the same; if not more opportunities available to them than I ever have as a Canadian. I had the assumption and bias that all people who lived in countries like these had to struggle poorly through life. If it weren’t for my traveling experience I would have never been exposed to the other side of the “single stories” presented in my schooling.

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