Now that your kids are home, teach them black history they won’t learn in the American educational system.
Black children in America learn minuscule amounts of black history in school. We seem to learn more about black people being slaves rather than about black people being the fathers of civilization and mothers of humanity.
To make matters worse, the average American school curriculum reinforces white supremacist ideologies by declaring virtually all “firsts,” “originals,” “masters,” “innovators,” “experts,” etc. to be of Caucasian descent.
Robin Muldor-Engram, a former Philadelphia teacher, expresses her frustration about black history not being expressed or promoted the same way Caucasian history is in schools. “In 2018,” she says, “classrooms around the country still do not have enough books that accurately depict the unsullied experiences of black Americans.”
Every Black History Month, teachers develop curricula often recycling the narratives of a few historical figures such as Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., and Frederick Douglass. These leaders, of course, deserve to be acknowledged but, by focusing solely on notable leaders, we limit the narrative of black history in this country. If we really want to teach black history that encompasses all the achievements and groundbreaking moments, we’re going to need more diverse books.
A copious selection of diverse books can change the course of black history studies from the same whitewashed, worn-out projects to new forms of representation of the black American experience. Imagine if there were an array of cultures, dialects, gender differences, and religions reflected in every book our children read. What if curricula were written for the inclusion of all cultures, creeds, and ethnicities? Would racism, implicit biases, and degrading stereotypes still exist?
This we may never know, because the bulk of children’s literature remains unfairly predominately white.
It’s not a stretch to suggest that books without people of color make it seem as if everything was primitive and savage until “the white man” showed up with his infinite knowledge and grace. Which is so far from the actual reality.
Black scholars with accurate and applicable information regarding our historical and biological circumstance are often harshly discredited. Textbooks, history books, and other education literature by black intellectuals who’ve attained outstanding academic accolades often get left out of the classroom. Books like The Isis Papers, Yurugu, Dark Light Consciousness, and When the World Was Black Part 1 & 2, are not even mentioned in American schools.
If we as black parents, and members of a global melanated community, do not take advantage of our children’s separation from the Americans school system to teach them black history, science, and knowledge of self that is relevant to a melanated mind, then our children will be undoubtedly become self-hating agents for the system of white supremacy.
It’s our responsibility to teach our history. So let’s build our own libraries, personal and public. Realistically, we can order online almost any book we are looking for. It’s as simple as making a financial commitment to knowledge of self.
During this time, we can show our kids the history they don’t learn in school. We can review the things they’ve been taught and make corrections when necessary.
The point is, if our kids are home every day for this extended period of time and we don’t teach them “what they need to know,” then we can’t complain about what the white folks at the schools program into our children’s mind.
This is a major opportunity for us to teach our children ourselves: let’s not waste it.
For a list of recommended books, please visit trudreadz.com/book-recommendations.