As I look back on my education from kindergarten until now, I realize I was not taught a lot about my African American History. Now that I’am a junior in college I’ve realized that not learning about my cultural history has affected not only my performance in school, but also my drive to receive a higher education. All the way through highschool I never took school seriously, just went through the motions and trying to graduate. Going to college was just another way I could continue to play football, but it was in college where I began to learn about my culture and that burned a fire in me to want to succeed. Not only did it make me realize how much knowing my cultural history affected me, but it made me wonder… Does this same thing happen to other African Americans as well?
It’s rare to have ethnic studies in high school curriculum or before. February was the only time African American history was taught, and even then the curriculum was very light, mainly learning about Martin Luther King Jr and the civil rights movement.
Now the early history that students usually learn is the success of European countries and the control of another. For instance, Christopher Columbus “Discovering America”. Students are taught that a man was lost at sea and somehow discovered land that a civilization was already on. Eventually that land became his and the people on that “discovered land” would be killed off through disease and murder.
Other European control would have to include slavery, which eventually would be not only European history, but American History as well. Things like this are taught in high school and sooner. Not to go too much in depth, but the point here is that Ethnic minorities are taught more negativity, (slavery, murder, and disease of their people), than they are taught positive about their culture. When student are constanlty seeing images, reading stories of being inferior to another race it can affect them psycologically to think inferior as well and it can affect their performance in school and in society. That person may began acting out in class or even worse, breaking the law because they see no hope for themselves, they feel trapped in the mindset of feeling worthless. If the people they are reading about,seeing images about; whether it be in the school or the media; or even surrounded by are not a positive image they began to believe there is no hope for a better life so they continue to go down the wrong path.
African Culture was taken during slavery, and over the years it becomes distance and pretty soon dissappears. While most cultures can simply ask their parents or grand parents about their culture. Being African American a person cannot do that, that person would have to go generations back to figure out where they come from or what language they speak. Somethings cannot be learned by just picking a book or just searching on the internet for answers, because each family, each person has their own stories.
There has been research done that shows the performance of African Americans before and after they have took an African American History course. What was discovered was that The students performance in school went up. These students were taught about both the good and and bad about African American history. It gave them something to look forward to and kept them interested. When they are learnig about their culture they discover that they are not inferior but are much greater than they are percieved by others. It begans to unlock their mind.