A medical textbook that calls black people’s hair thick and kinky and Asian hair smooth and silky exemplifies Eurocentric teaching materials at Ontario’s colleges and universities, a forum exploring campus racism heard yesterday.

Such textbooks are woefully inadequate when it comes to teaching how to care for visible minority patients, nursing student Liana Salvador, 24, told the panel as it launched provincewide hearings into the topic.

“They use white as the reference point and everyone else is pigeonholed or extra,” said Salvador, a student at Ryerson University, who cited an example from one textbook that discusses hair type
Committees need to be struck that have broad representation, including students, when it comes to the selection of teaching materials for post-secondary programs, Salvador told the panel.

The forum at George Brown College was the first of several the Ontario chapter of the Canadian Federation of Students will be holding across the province before the end of April.