“Why are we so Black?”: Nigerian families’ integration into schools in Canada
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There is a paucity of research on the education integration experiences of non-refugee Black African migrants. This sometimes leads to the essentialization of the Black African immigrant experience. In Canada, Nigerian immigrants are mostly economic migrants (not refugees), and due to the colonial history of Nigeria, are predominantly English speaking. Given that Nigerian immigrants in Canada account for a significant number of Black Africans in Canada, and that they are largely overlooked in the research, it is necessary to explore the experiences of Nigerian immigrant families and their integration into the school system. It is in this context that this phenomenological study sought to inquire into the education integration experiences of Nigerian parents and their children in an urban city in Canada. The purpose of the study was to inquire into parents’ experiences and their perceptions of their children’s experiences as they integrated into schools in Canada. The study was grounded in Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality frameworks and used journaling and interview techniques to explore these experiences. Findings illustrated the potential of play, friendships, parental involvement, and positive attitudes of educators in fostering integration and belonging. It also illustrates how race, microaggressions, and lack of connection with others impeded integration. Suggestions included that schools should explore the potential for play in fostering belonging for newly arrived children. Also, teacher training education institutions and K-12 schools should adopt anti-racist and anti-colonial practices and approaches to engage with stakeholders.