“The curriculum taught me that white people captured me and took away my freedom. Why would I want to learn this?” That goes through the minds of many black students as they sit in social studies class, says Jamaal Bowman, principal of Cornerstone Academy for Social Action in Co-op City.Well you shouldn't want to learn that because it is not what happened. This myth of the "white man stole us" is, unfortunately embedded in the minds of many black people. History shows that what actually happened was that Africans were sold to Europeans (when they weren't being sold to Arabs) by other Africans. Many of these enslaved Africans were victims of warfare (sometimes motivated by the selling of Africans). Others were simply kidnapped, by other Africans. These enslaved Africans were then brought to the coast where they were housed in places like El Mina
Cornerstone takes a different approach. While many schools begin their study of black history with American slavery, Cornerstone reaches back to Ancient Egypt’s African roots. His students, Bowman told a town hall on education in the Bronx last month, learn that they “are descendants of kings and queens, not descendants of slaves. That’s a big difference.”Ahh history class as self-esteem boosting session. Think about this. In England there is one king and one queen and a few princes and princesses, etc. Out of a population of 53 million people. How do you think that YOU are descended from "kings and queens"? Seriously. While there are noted cases where a king or queen were captured and transported, the sheer number of people means that YOU are *unlikely* to be descended from *any* of them. If you need to be told that you are descended from "kings and queens" in order to feel better about yourself, you have serious issues. Schools should not be lying to students. That there are/were African royalty doesn't mean that all Africans are "descended from kings and queens" anymore than being English makes you English royalty.
Nelson Luna of the Bronx, now a first-year student at Columbia University, agrees that’s not currently the case. “When you don’t see yourself, you don’t feel connected and you don’t feel passionate. You feel out of place,” says Luna, a co-founder of Teens Take Charge, which organizes students to speak out about integration and other issues.It is not the purpose of American history classes to "make you see yourself". It is the purpose of American history classes to teach American history, which for the large part doesn't include a lot of non-whites. Why? Because they are not the founding population. This is like going to Japan and complaining that you don't "see yourself". Why should you?
More than a half century after schools abandoned the “Dick and Jane” readers in the wake of concerns about their whiteness and sexism, many lessons and materials in New York City schools seem out of touch with a student body that is about 85 percent of black, Latino and Asian.Colonizers erase the history and language of the "host" country. This is colonization. the "Dick and Jane" readers that I grew up on didn't bother me one bit. I spent hours reading books because I liked to read. No one was telling me how oppressive it was to read The Count of Monte Cristo, Moby Dick, etc. Here's the thing, you can be "inclusive" without tossing "Dick and Jane". These black, Latino and Asian" students need to recognize that "Dick and Jane" founded the country and have a right to be in the curriculum.
A few highly publicized incidents have drawn attention to the issue. There was the 5th grade practice test that praised Robert E. Lee’s wife for showing “genuine concern” for her slaves by teaching them to read, write and sew.I'm old enough to remember when my elders in the "struggle" told me that there were many "good white people" who did things that could get them killed. Teaching an enslaved African how to read or write was often a severely punishable offense. Many of us cannot fathom the idea that such a simple thing that we take for granted could result in hanging from a tree somewhere. We never used to "shit" on such persons. Now I suppose such things are not "woke" enough. I thought the new woke was supposed to support white people being "race traitors". Clearly Lee's wife would qualify. By the way, both Nat Turner and Fredrick Douglass were taught to read by white people.
In history, many issues are ignored or distorted. “Often, we don’t tell complex histories nor do we tell truthful histories,” says coalition coordinator Natasha Capers. “Students are still learning that Columbus discovered American and he was a brave explorer tried and true. That is just not true. And it erases the true history of what Columbus did across the Americas to other folks.”See opening paragraphs in regards to "distorted" and "untrue" history. You don't replace one "untrue" story with another. Secondly whether one like Columbus or not, sailing around the globe at that time was a brave act. Particularly going to "wrong" direction at a time that people generally thought the world was flat. It's really easy for city kids with zero experience sailing to talk shit about Columbus.
Aneth Naranjo, director of youth leadership at IntegrateNYC and a recent graduate of Leon Goldstein High School for the Sciences in Brooklyn, thinks her history courses there had a white male perspective. “The American Revolution gets so much time but they skip over hundreds of years of slavery,” she said, adding, “As a Latina, I know my people’s history has a place in our history but I never got that.”Firstly, I'm getting quite annoyed about all these "youth leaders". Secondly, as stated before, the United States was founded by whites (including males). That's why they get so much time. Again, it's like going to Japan and complaining about how Asians are 99% of the history. Duh. Slavery in America proper lasted a bit over 100 years. Slavery as an institution is about as old as humans have been organized and is not peculiar to America (the country). Lastly the entire "as a Latina" means squat outside of Puerto Rico, the American southwest and California. The latter being previously property of Mexico, a Spanish colony, who lost a war with America.
Luna graduated from Democracy Prep Charter school in Upper Manhattan, which follows the state curriculum for global history. “You spend one day on South America, and two days on Africa, and most of the lessons are concentrated on European and American history,” he says. “The French Revolution–you go very in depth on that, almost two months.”Please send her back. To school, because clearly "Democracy Prep" failed to educate this person. There is a reason why the French Revolution looms large in American history. There is a reason why European history looms large in American history classes. Does this chick understand the implications of America basically being an extension of England? You cannot fully understand why we have the governing system we have if you do not understand European (specifically English) history.
Maurice Blackmon, a leadership and advocacy coach at IntegrateNYC, teaches a class called Worlds Collide at Essex Street Academy in lower Manhattan. It looks at three major American civilizations–the Maya, Taino and the Aztec–and considers “what made these civilizations unique and advanced for their time. We don’t spend the majority of the time talking about the genocide or the colonizing of civilizations. I think that is a unique approach,” Blackmon says.The Taino were not "advanced". Period. The Maya and Aztecs were advanced to a degree. I'm pretty certain that Mr. Blackmon doesn't want to get into the massive amounts of human sacrifices that were practices in Mezo-America. Nor do I believe that Blackmon would call any of that "civilized" nor want to be subject to it. I'm certain it pains Mr. Blackmon to admit that the Spanish were responsible for ending that practice and that many of the smaller tribes were extremely happy to no longer be subject to that barbarism.
This strikes a chord with the many Latino students at Essex. But Blackmon says studying those civilizations and reading multiple accounts of them helps the entire class: “It enables us to talk about how history is taught and whose history is taught and which context. [Students] really feel that they are doing the work of historians by engaging in these conversations instead of just sitting there and being fed history from a particular perspective”So these students graduate with no understanding of the cultures and people that actually founded the country they live in and hence why the institutions that were created by those people are the way they are. Again, History classes in these "schools" are actually indoctrination and self-esteem boosting enterprises. Explains a lot. I'm not against teaching about other histories and cultures in schools. I'm not even against critiquing the "standard" education curriculum. I am against inflating the egos of non-white students and turning them into victims by trying to equalize cultures and their achievements (and lack thereof). I'm against creating fake histories to compensate for fake histories. Sometimes the stone hard truth is: You and your people had shit to do with making America what it is, but please do take the opportunity to contribute without shitting on those who made the opportunity possible.