“I guess I’m not alone in this”
Exploring racialized students’ experiences and perspectives of safer classrooms at McMaster University
This chapter details the findings of our critical race theory-informed study, which explored how pedagogy can adapt to create, foster, prioritize, and sustain safety for racialized students in the classroom. We invited racialized students to participate in a focus group which researchers designed to be a safe space, unpack their experiences of tokenization, harm, and exclusion in the classroom. Participants described the (a) systemic issues within white-streamed pedagogy, (b) the significance of uncompensated and unrecognized labour in the classroom, (c) classroom experiences of harm, and (d) long-term emotional and academic impacts of racial trauma. Drawing from their recommendations, we emphasize the production of counter-stories that centre the need for safer and more inclusive classrooms within post-secondary institutions. Recommendations offered from participants include ways the administration can materially invest in the safety and well-being of students of colour; implications oriented to instructors, staff, and white- identified students in making classroom spaces more equitable; and reflexive-learning and educational opportunities to change language, curriculum, discourse, and interactions across the institution.