What if we Actually Learned Black History?

It’s Black History Month, which means we’re supposed to celebrate and remember great achievements of our black leaders, as well as their struggles. Every time February rolls around, I ask myself why we don’t spend more of our time doing this. Instead of only devoting a month out of the history of black people, which is American History, we should be learning about it year round.

Our public school system makes it abundantly clear that if you wish to learn about true history, do not count on school to teach it to you.By true history, I mean a well-rounded account of events that relate to the entire world, not one group of people. Information about everyone all over the world,as well as at home, a celebration of history and culture instead of a blatant attempt at white washing it, and/or ignoring parts that are not considered satisfactory.It  should focus on telling every side of a story instead of casting a positive light on some while forcing others into the dark.

It may seem like too much of a feat, too difficult to explore so much and to get out so much information about so many different people. However, 12 years is more than enough time. By the time I got to high school, there was no longer a need to study for history or even literature classes. We learned the same things every year, Columbus and his “discoveries”,white settlers in Virginia, WW1,the Bushes,etc. We read books by the same stereotypical white authors battling with issues that only certain people could relate to and I wrote paper after paper analyzing the struggles of these people, not caring because I wanted the chance to write about something that mattered to me.The monotony of education had become very apparent to me because spending 12 years learning the same things is not very fulfilling to a person who loves learning.

Aside from not feeling represented in what we studied, which occurred often, I also feel irritated at the fact that there is so much about my own history and culture that is left out of the curriculum. Tolerance and civility is much easier to come by if everyone has a deeper understanding of each other’s history. There is a greater level of respect that should arise from this, though we may never know because of the reluctance to include everyone in the curriculum. We’re also forced to sit through year after year learning about all of the negative things involving black people.

Slavery-Frederick Douglass
Underground rail road-Harriet Tubman                                                                                             Civil rights-MLK
Boycotting-Rosa Parks.
It’s the same things over and over on a cycle, in a loop. We are fed the same basic,non-informative information about an entire history of people and are expected to accept it and not want more.

It’s become apparent that school won’t teach me anything, so I’ve taken it upon myself to learn more about things that I believe are important for me to know. This is okay, I have no issue with learning new information on my own. The issue is with the lack of diversity in our education and the lack of representation of anyone other than Sally or Bill. In my opinion, ignoring groups of people and excluding them from mainstream education is a part of the larger problem and only serves to worsen conditions that are already tense.


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