Originally posted February 24, 2014
While stumbling around the internet this week I came across two articles that made me stop and think, this can’t be real.
The first one that I came across was about Jeopardy, which on the night of 02/17, had a category called “African-American History.” The panelist were all white college students and they avoided the topic to the best of their ability. Reading the comments under the article, to which they are all mostly twitter posts, I was so confused. They have to teach something other than how important Martin Luther King is to Black History, but then I realized, growing up I myself I barely knew what it really was…and I’m black. I realized that between my European parents and my predominately white schooling there was no room for me to learn the importance of understanding what it meant to be African-American and not just American. This greatly angered, we learn every pointless thing there is to know about American History, but we don’t learn about the struggles of any other race in out country.
The other article I came across was about the Phillipsburg High School wrestling squad, which is a school in New Jersey.
Several of the members of the wrestling squad (who were also the state champions). Posted the picture of them with a black wrestling dummy being hung from the ceiling by a rope wrapped around the neck. Two of the wrestlers can be seen wearing hoods drawn up into a KKK-style point, one in a white hoodie the other in red. Aside from the pure ignorance of this photo which I will not get into in this post, I realized something important. Americans will never learn or understand what it means to be African-American, black history will never be taught in schools in a way that will resonate with the students. HOWEVER, racial bias will continuously be taught, racial bias is what is embedded in our society. Racial bias is the reason a group of white college students on an intelligent TV show do not know anything about Black History (because it isn’t important). And it is the reason that a group of high school students see no wrong in simulating a lynching of a black dummy.
Is the fact that we don’t teach children about black history a problem? How is it that our society continues to foster racial ideas yet surprise the importance of African-American History?