The Teaching of Black History Month in MHS

Black history is an extremely crucial topic to understand when it comes to the creation and success of America. The struggles people of color have had to endure in the United States for generations are absolutely despicable, and that is what makes the triumphs of black people in America even more of a thing to celebrate. However, not all black accomplishments are treasured and deemed as important as their white counterparts’ achievements, and important black figures in history are often overlooked. The problem with the lack of recognition of black figures in society today can arguably be traced back to how schools handle black history. Black excellence is clearly not as talked about as white accomplishments are, and this issue takes on a new form when the most recognition black figures seem to get is when they are celebrated for a week at most during Black History Month. With this being said, the lack of black history education in schools should definitely be reformed, and there should start being a change to call for black education as part of the curriculum rather than only when it is deemed necessary. 

The first major reason why schools desperately need to reform the way they teach black history is that the avoidance of such important topics can actually lead to further prejudice towards African Americans. For centuries, discrimination and racism have been contributing factors to the fact that people of color are often diminished compared to the “heroism” that is often associated with white actions. Because of this undermining that black people have endured for a long time, institutional racism has also become a norm, hiding important black issues away from the public eye no matter how aware the institution might be of their complicity. This is unfortunately very common in schools, especially schools with a predominately white demographic, as students are often never given the adequate amount of materials to fully apprehend black history and culture. According to Teegan Oshins of The Oracle, “A 2015 study by the National Museum of African American History and Culture and Oberg Research found that American history classes only spend an average of 8-9% of time learning Black history.” This is astonishing once it is visualized how long students are in school, and the extent of content that they learn. Not only this, but the textbooks frequently used in several different subjects are also relatively older in nature, and tend to diminish the importance of blackled events. With all of these elements in mind, the environment created in some schools can feed even further into a racial bias, even without students noticing.

The second reason why schools need a more inclusive curriculum is to be respectful of the challenges the black community had and constantly still has to face and their many triumphs along the way. In schools, we are constantly reminded of the magnitude of cruciality white actions have on our world, but not always about how black minds have shaped us all. And with the years of discrimination, torment, and prejudice people of color have received, it is still very surprising to see schools all across the nation do little to hone in on what black people have had to face. It is so important to look further than the average historical figure of color or racially diverse events and start digging deeper into black issues rather than just during Black History Month to really acknowledge the strength of the community. To further emphasize this point, “There’s a lack of understanding of what is actually Black history,” King said. “What is historically important to white people is not historically important to Black people. July 4, 1776, means nothing historically to Black people,” Cathy Rainone of NBC Philadelphia said. The humanity of race is often erased in lessons because it is not often that they are investigated as much as white events are, and this needs to change to fit the more progressive society of racial acceptance that we are in today. 

Although many may argue that the reason for the lack of black history education in schools is the lack of resources they are given on the subject, there are a slew of ways for integration to be implemented. Black culture needs to be more normalized in schools, and a great way to embrace their history teaches students not only about the most known black historical figures but about local ones that have to do with specific topics as well so that there is more of a relevant connection with these figures in everyday learning. Another important aspect, no matter which discipline is being taught, is to start implementing texts by black authors. According to Rann Miller of Edutopia, “Students should be introduced to texts by Black authors that speak to Black experiences, Black perspectives, and Black accomplishments.” By doing so, people will be able to further immerse themselves and connect with the personal experiences of the black community, increasing the comprehension of the process of black struggles and triumphs. Finally, it is just as important to incorporate the rebellion of Black people as it is to learn about things like the American Revolution in classes. Throughout history, the prejudice that African Americans have faced sparked a spirit to thrive for equality, and the many movements and events to overthrow discrimination should be a norm for education to teach because it is important for their efforts and strength to never be forgotten.

Overall, the cruciality of black history is absolutely colossal, and without black history and the many accomplishments of people of color, America would not even be half of what it is today. Black history is just as important as white history, and because of this, it is more than important for black history to be implemented in education as normal rather than just popping up during certain times in the school year. Even though current schooling still lacks this equality of education, the reasons listed should be enough to prove not only how paramount the effects of black history are, but also how important it is to never erase all that the black community has faced in curriculums to educate the youth.

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