Is Your Curriculum Racist
Most curricula in the United States is racist. This might seem like a hyperbolic or shocking statement, but it is simply a description of the state of curriculum today. Most curriculum is not racist in the same way it was 80 years ago, with blatant derogatory words and gross mis-characterizations (although you can still find some, here and there). Today, the racism is more subtle and requires a closer examination.
We can examine curricula through a lens, looking for racism, and find a whole host of issues that we should be addressing. The problem rests with the notion that those who write curriculum often do not see the systematic exclusion of other voices. In fact, when confronted with a need to examine a curriculum with a critical race theory lens, they often respond with the startled response that their curriculum cannot be racist… “math is just math, it can’t be racist.”
Every school district in America should have a committee whose job is the systematic review of all curricular materials through a critical race theory lens. Looking at who wrote history, and which voices are included and which are not tells us a great deal about the commitment to equity at the time of the writing, as well as the time of adoption of the curriculum.
The publication of The 1619 Project should serve as a clarion call for every school district, showing them just how many other voices and perspectives have been left out of the stories we tell our school children. Eliminating racism in our country cannot happen without the systematic elimination of racism within our curriculum.
Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.
— Martin Luther King Jr.