Jermaine Thomas, II
Updated: Mar 15, 2021
The education system is being out-paced. At this moment where racial injustice has been moved up the priority list, this conversation around ever-occurring prejudice and oppression is still not looking the way it should. This conversation must move from “what can we do to educate the majority” towards, “what can we do to wholly support minoritized communities?”
Educating White students whose privilege enables them to erase the oppressive experience of POC they encounter on college campuses is important. Therefore, the perpetuation of misinformation that comes from the lack of comprehensive history in published textbooks, alongside the racially ignorant ideologies passed down in the home must end. However, the American education system is failing its students by putting rose-colored opticals on American History, lacking the adequate focus on the Black Experience in the United States.
Tulsa, Oklahoma has been catapulted into popular culture lately due to the reemergence of the 1921 Tulsa Massacre, which destroyed one of Black America’s most prominent cities known as Black Wall Street. Why is it that a majority of Americans had not heard of Black Wall Street, pillaged almost 100 years ago, until the last 2-4 years? Why do our history books fail to mention how the Ku Klux Klan was not birthed randomly out of hate for non-white Americans, but directly connected to the Reconstruction Era where we saw Black people vigorously voting, and an astounding amount of Black men securing political office? Why is television teaching us more than our history books?
More attention is needed to work against the centuries of terror Black students have faced at the hands of our American society, specifically in the education sector. Ensuring students of color, specifically Black students, are receiving the care and support they need regardless of the needs of other students is remarkably crucial. That is equity. Equity means that minoritized populations need more attention, more scholarships, and more representation in the curriculum, as well as the campus.
There are multiple ways to dissect the issue of racial injustice. Every minoritized experience deserves the space to be spoken about independently of the normative experience that opposes it. That includes; women’s needs being spoken about independently of men’s needs, the Black student’s needs being spoken about independently of the White student’s needs, LGBTQ+ needs independent of heterosexual needs, etc. In closing, our “what do we do now” conversations must be intentionally framed to directly support the students who are in need, not always framed around the education of the oppressor.
“If [the Negro] is still saying, ‘Not enough.’ It is because he does not feel that he should be expected to be grateful for the halting and inadequate attempts of his society to catch up with the basic rights he ought to have inherited automatically, centuries ago, by virtue of his membership in the human family and his American birthright.”
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Photo from: wikipedia.com