Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Out of the Mouth of Babes

My amazing friend Lyvonne has been working this past year as an adviser at a high school in Bridgeport, CT. For those of you who don't know much about Bridgeport, it has one of the highest income and achievement gaps in the country. The per capita income is around $16,000 and approximately 18 percent of the population live below the poverty line.
 
But these stats are really just a little background info. Because the real story here today is a 15-year-old girl, Wenefred, who noticed that her history class is really just a history class about white men. On not seeing her heritage reflected in her history class, she remarked:
I was pissed! I watched "The Greater Debaters" and learned about Langston Hughes, so I started to read more about him. Why wasn't he in that book? That's not history? Picking cotton isn't history? Being whipped isn't history? Being kidnapped from your country is not history? How you gonna tell me to go back to Africa and YOU kidnapped ME?! You see, you gotta be educated.
Way to go, Wenefred! What powerful words! I hope you work to educate them, and get them to change the history curriculum to reflect America's real history, which is about much more than a bunch of white men.

2 comments:

  1. That's awesome. I teach history to upper-middle class white girls, and the curriculum is also mostly white men. So when we reached the unit on the Age of Exploration, I had them read the first chapter of Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States and they LOVED it. And they were also pissed about the lies they've been told in the past. It was really great and interesting for me to read the essays they wrote about Zinn.

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  2. I'm so glad they liked it! And way to break from the traditional curriculum!

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