What Did the Multicultural Policies of the Last Century Promise that Need to Be Re-Imagined in Today’s DEDI Post-Secondary World?


  • Carl James York University




equity, diversity, inclusion, decolonization, Canada


This article is an expanded version of the 2023 Plenary Lecture at the Canadian Society for the Study of Education (CSSE) Conference held at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences. This invited essay explores the extent to which the promise of DEDI’s (decolonization, equity, diversity, and inclusion) polices and initiatives might bring about the imagined institutional changes in today’s context. Contending that we have been here before, the essay reckons that changes will not come about simply through verbal rhetoric, targeted hiring, or training sessions where individuals engage in self-reflection on their attitudes, values, and behaviours, but through critical examination of institutional policies, programs, and practices that result in the removal of systemic barriers which have operated over the years to maintain the inequitable situation being addressed.

Author Biography

Carl James, York University

Carl E. James holds the Jean Augustine Chair in Education, Community & Diaspora in the Faculty of Education at York University. He studies the educational, recreational, employment and career experiences of marginalized Canadians, noting the ways in which race – as it intersects with gender, class, citizenship, generational status, and other identity characteristics – mediates their opportunities, trajectories, and attainments in the society. Premised on notions of equity, inclusion, and social justice, his work seeks to unmask the lived realities of Black and other racialized Canadians. His most recent publications include: “Colour Matters”: Essays on the Experiences, Education and Pursuits of Black Youth (2021), and First Generation Student Experiences in Higher Education: Counterstories – co-authored with Leanne Taylor (2023).


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How to Cite

James, C. (2023). What Did the Multicultural Policies of the Last Century Promise that Need to Be Re-Imagined in Today’s DEDI Post-Secondary World?. Canadian Journal of Education/Revue Canadienne De l’éducation, 46(3), 502–516. https://doi.org/10.53967/cje-rce.6233