Racialized Teachers and the Role-Model Hypothesis

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  • Title: Racialized Teachers and the Role-Model Hypothesis
  • Author(s): Robin Liu Hopson
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Diversity in Organizations, Communities & Nations
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities, and Nations: Annual Review
  • Keywords: Racialized Teachers, Anti-racist Education, Diversity, Role-Model, Role-Modeling
  • Volume: 13
  • Issue: 1
  • Year: 2014
  • ISSN: 1447-9532 (Print)
  • ISSN: 1447-9583 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/1447-9532/CGP/v13/40137
  • Citation: Hopson, Robin Liu. 2014. "Racialized Teachers and the Role-Model Hypothesis." The International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities, and Nations: Annual Review 13 (1): 23-33. doi:10.18848/1447-9532/CGP/v13/40137.
  • Extent: 11 pages


The city of Toronto is one of most racially diverse places in the world, with almost half of its population identifying as being a “visible minority” (Statistics Canada, 2010). As a result, educational institutions face the question of how to meet the needs of their transforming student demographics. Numerous researchers and organizational policies have responded to these changes by endorsing the hiring of a teaching staff that is reflective of the racially diversifying student population (Ontario Ministry of Education, 2009; Ryan, Pollock, & Antonelli, 2009; Solomon, & Levine-Rasky, 2003). The Role-Model Hypothesis refers to the dominant belief that there should be a push to hire more racialized teachers because they will be role-models for racialized students. What is urgently lacking from these dominant discourses are the voices of racialized individuals, whose inside perspectives and lived experiences provide valuable insights about the shortcomings of the Role-Model Hypothesis. Using an anti-racist theoretical framework, individual semi-structured interviews with 21 racialized teachers from the Greater Toronto Area reveal the complexity of racial matching between educators and students. The findings contribute to a differentiation between being a role-model and the act of role-modeling as a way of challenging the reductionist and homogenizing attitudes embedded in dominant discourses about the diversification of the teaching force.