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As conservatives across right-wing America continue their white fragility war on Critical Race Theory—a thing they use as an umbrella term for any Black history that makes white people uncomfortable, because they don’t know what the decades-old academic study actually is—New York City is taking the opposite approach and introducing a new curriculum aimed at teaching students the “role of race in power relationships and the impact of systemic and institutional racism.”
According to the New York Post, City schools Chancellor Meisha Ross-Porter introduced the new Black studies curriculum Wednesday at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Manhattan.
“If we’re serious about addressing racial justice, we have to look at what our students learn every day,” Porter said while joined at the center by city legislators, academics, and nonprofit organizers. “And not just black children, but all children.”
“Our children have to see and experience themselves every single day in the curriculum,” she continued. “They have to see their value and worth because they have seen so many other messages that say different.”
The main focus of the new curriculum appears to be creating a departure from the Black history we’ve traditionally been taught in K-12 schools, which, for the most part, begins with slavery and ends with Martin Luther King Jr.
“Why did I have to go to the movies to learn that black women played a significant role putting America on the moon,” Black Edfluencers United President Shango Blake rhetorically asked during the meeting. “Why didn’t I learn that at school? Why are our children having to learn about Tulsa Oklahoma because it’s the 100 year anniversary? Why wasn’t it known in the books?”
Besides offering a more thorough teaching of Black American history, the curriculum will also “train a greater focus on early African history and civilizations including Ethiopia and Timbuktu,” the Post reported.
Eagle Academy Foundation executive Jawana Johnson said during the curriculum’s announcement that it’s especially necessary now while there is still a national conversation being had regarding systemic racism in America.
“In the wake of the murder of George Floyd, the ensuing social unrest and the calls for racial justice that followed, the need for a systemic approach to cultivate a better and deeper appreciation of the contributions of black people within New York City schools was more pressing than ever,” she said.
Johnson also said the initiative will “offer a counter-narrative to what has regularly been taught in schools,” and “a truer telling of our story all students deserve to hear.”
In a perfect educational world, schools across the entire nation would offer similar teachings. Unfortunately, white America, and particularly red-state America, is still far too racist and fragile to allow it.
Black people deserve to have our history be taught as more than just a footnote in America’s and the world’s story. Curricula like what NYC plans to offer is long overdue.
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