Monday, January 17, 2011

Is There Too Much History for Today's Students?

I wonder if we need to rethink how we teach history in today's school systems?

I am an African-American/black male in a wonderful relationship with a Caucasian/white woman. She has two sons from a previous marriage. The oldest in in high school. We live in a very predominately Caucasian community.

The discussion had started when I was telling how I was disheartened by some the comments for this story. Some of the commenters declared the NAACP a "Black Supremacist Group." In the ensuing discussion, it was becoming clear that there was a division of thought in our home; whereas I thought that the NAACP was still a relevant, worthwhile non-profit advocacy group, the rest of my family was feeling that the group was impeding equality by it's very existence.

After that shock to my system, I started thinking. I really don't need to have everyone agree with me. But I did wonder if the schools in this area were teaching the historical basis for the NAACP. And then I wondered if the schools had time to teach that as there's about 30 years more of history since I was in high school.

At what point do certain historical moments get lost or get demoted for the sake of relevancy? What about regional and cultural variances? Does this predominately Caucasian community value Black history more than French-American (or any other culture for that matter)? I wonder about this because it's my belief that if the full history of the NAACP was taught to non-Black students they would understand why the group is still relevant. My fear is that there's no time in school to adequately cover this or other historical moments that would prevent someone to making snap judgements.

I'm thinking that history is becoming more subjective every day. And that soon, very soon, information that my generation takes for granted will be a sidebar in a history book (if it's in there at all).

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