Supporting Anti-Racism and Anti-Discrimination through Your School’s Website
Anti-racism and anti-discrimination continue to be an important topic in public discussion. Society is faced with a collective call to action to improve inclusion by rethinking interactions with racialized and minoritized groups. Schools are not exempt from calls for transformative change. Your school website is a good place to start to show your school’s intent to put anti-racism and anti-discrimination perspectives and attitudes into practice. To move in the right direction, schools’ tendency to exclude students based on their race, culture, ethnicity, (dis)ability, and class, must be acknowledged.
“The medium through which intent is communicated sends a profound message regarding your school’s culture in creating a place of belonging for all students.”
- Your website’s visual representations and the content will resonate with students, parents, staff, and the broader community; if not implemented correctly, efforts to combat harmful practices will go unrecognized.
- Investigate the web design’s effectiveness aspects such as content and image that demonstrate your commitment and desire for anti-discriminatory and anti-racist reform. Bias and racist representations and attitudes have endured unnoticed and unchecked for a very long time. However, for students, these harmful practices have not gone unnoticed.
The use of inclusive visual communication that is responsive to anti-racism and anti-discrimination can be challenging. Schools risk perpetuating implicit biases, stereotypes, and subtle prejudicial comments and actions towards ethnically, racially and culturally different populations. Schools also need to address the structural and social barriers to accessibility.
Factors to consider to strengthen awareness of racial and cultural inclusivity:
- Are the images, content, and language favouring white, non-disabled worldviews?
- Are there significantly fewer posts showing pictures of racially and ethnically different people, as well as differences in the levels of (dis) ability?
- Recognize your materials, the selection process—where and how are materials collected? For example, does the stock-sharing website carry images primarily of white people? In such instances, mindfulness in selecting pictures depicting a diverse spectrum is needed.
The demographics of the school should not determine the degree of inclusion. Your web design must represent the diversity reflected in the real world. Demonstrate the similarities and differences amongst your school population and in society. It should be a consistent theme, not treat it as a stand-alone issue, otherwise, you risk excluding and silencing underserved students.
Schools are challenged with the opportunity to feature a variety of ideas, expressions, and materials; to show the complex distinctions of the cultural and racial diversity in society. More awareness in the selection of images is needed moving forward. Your underlying message is powerful as you set the stage to adequately prepare students to respect and interact with various people in school and at work.
For any educator and school leader that wants support and coaching, join me and the other PLP Hosts in the PLP Community Hub. It’s a supportive (and collaborative) space where educators are built up and celebrated! A space to share resources and get ideas about how to address challenging and sensitive topics. We all here to learn together and from each other. And the best part is there is no charge for joining.
What are some of the best practices for inclusive and diversity-driven education? Check out our courses Digital Citizenship and Future-Proofing Students Living in Poverty as well as others in the course catalog.
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