Why BIPOC and not Race
Black, Indigenous, People of Colour (BIPOC) was the theme for February’s Friday Focus. The purpose of the BIPOC theme is for students to develop awareness on how race/racism affects people in our VIS community, and for students to learn more about Black, Indigenous and People of Colour. We chose to focus on BIPOC rather than race in general, as BIPOC specifically focuses on groups who may be often underrepresented. For instance, when explaining this to elementary students, we showed this image, which highlights some issues of racial representation in children’s books.
What BIPOC month looked like in ES
Week 1: Like every month, we started off with an Entry Point to get the students excited and to explain the purpose of the theme. We introduced the key vocabulary of race, racism, and stereotypes and had BIPOC guest speakers, both teachers and secondary students, share their stories of how race and racism affect them. For instance, an example Ms Kathleen shared was how when she joined the VIS community, many comments were made about how it would be difficult to tell her and Ms Kim apart since they are both of Chinese ethnicity.
This is only one example of some of the microaggressions that BIPOC individuals face on an ongoing basis, and while the intention of comments like these may not be negative, it is important to know and understand how they resonate. After listening to their powerful stories, we did an ‘I See, I Think, and I Wonder’ activity using a few picture prompts.