This essay is a response to a question about school desegregation in Nova Scotia, Canada posed by my sister in 2008. I argue that the question itself illustrates the extent to which critical analysis of the politics of race in Canadian schools, particularly in rural areas, is seldom taken up. This feeds into a persistent mythology of a racially integrated, benevolent Nova Scotia where nasty problems of race were taken care of in the historic past. The reality in many rural regions of Canada is, I argue, quite the opposite and it may be precisely the friendly, homespun imagery which support the persistence of exclusive educational and social practices, as well as ongoing regional economic disadvantage. It is in these apparently non-diverse places that diversity education is perhaps most desperately needed.

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