York researchers can discuss impact of anti-Black racism, what needs to change


TORONTO, June 2, 2020 – As anti-Black racism protests rip across North America in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, York University professors can discuss some of the systemic issues that have led to anti-Black racism in Canada and the U.S., its impact and the weaponization of race.

What can we learn and how do we ensure change starting with children? What are some approaches teachers can use in the classroom and do schools have the necessary materials that reflect diverse communities and celebrate their successes?

Associate Professor Uzo Anucha, York Research Chair in Youth and Contexts of Inequity in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies and the provincial academic director of the Youth Research and Evaluation Exchange, can discuss:

  • Anti-Black racism
  • The impact on the well-being of Black youth, their families and communities

Associate Professor Andrea Davis, an expert in race and gender in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, can comment on:

  • Anti-Black racism in Canada and the United States
  • Weaponization of race and racial fear
  • Construction of protest, violence, and patriotism
  • Constructions of Black masculinity

Associate Professor Jennifer Steele of the Faculty of Health and director of the Interpersonal Perception and Social Cognition Laboratory looks at why children show implicit racial bias from a young age.

“Racism continues to be a pervasive issue in North America and around the world. Racism directed at people of colour, and specifically Black Americans, creates inequities that are not consistent with our purported meritocracy,” says Steele. “The protests in response to George Floyd's needless and tragic death reflect people's frustration with a system that treats people differently based on the colour of their skin.”

She can speak about:

  • The effects of systemic racism and discrimination, and dehumanization
  • Why children need to be exposed to diversity in their lives for them to learn to appreciate diversity
  • Why educational systems need materials that reflect increasingly diverse communities and why it is important that children learn about successful, contributing members of society from all walks of life
  • Approaches for the classroom


York University champions new ways of thinking that drive teaching and research excellence. Our students receive the education they need to create big ideas that make an impact on the world. Meaningful and sometimes unexpected careers result from cross-disciplinary programming, innovative course design and diverse experiential learning opportunities. York students and graduates push limits, achieve goals and find solutions to the world’s most pressing social challenges, empowered by a strong community that opens minds. York U is an internationally recognized research university – our 11 faculties and 25 research centres have partnerships with 200+ leading universities worldwide. Located in Toronto, York is the third largest university in Canada, with a strong community of 53,000 students, 7,000 faculty and administrative staff, and more than 300,000 alumni. York U's fully bilingual Glendon Campus is home to Southern Ontario's Centre of Excellence for French Language and Bilingual Postsecondary Education.

Media Contact:

Sandra McLean, York University Media Relations, 416-272-6317, sandramc@yorku.ca