As we move through Black History Month, activities – songs, poems, dances, projects – at elementary and middle schools are being completed and rehearsed as we speak. But in high schools it seems February, with the exception of Valentine’s Day, is just a normal month.
Black History isn’t being taught as it should in majority African American high schools. At Benjamin Carson High School, having African American history being taught as an elective (the class is optional) as opposed to having U.S. history really isn’t helping the case too much. Many students are wondering why African-American history is being taught as an elective while U.S. history is a required course. Shouldn’t African American students be encouraged to learn about their history just like anyone else? Many students feel like they should be learning more about themselves, and therefore that more should be taught.
“Black History should be taught more because we should be able to learn about our history and background so that we could have some knowledge about ourselves,” BCHS junior Ashley McIntosh said.
Some students, however, have no issue with African-American history being taught as an elective, feeling that choice can sometimes be a positive thing.
“Students should have a choice on if they want to learn about black history or not,” said BCHS junior Xavier Jack.
And though that statement may be true, students would want to learn more about their history if they were taught more about it beginning at a younger age. Very often, the older students get, the less Black History gets talked about. As a result, much of the effort depends on the students’ research alone.
Though students have the ability to choose their elective courses, the fact remains that many do not take African-American history, and therefore do not have as much of an opportunity to gain knowledge of their background. Some students of African-American descent, however, feel that they should not have to request to learn about themselves – rather, it should be a part of regularly scheduled programming and daily life.
“I feel like we [African Americans] should be expressed every day, not just in a particular month. It’s not fair because we can’t even learn about our history in a core class a whole,” said BCHS junior Remonia Redmon.
In the end, is Black History really worth only 28 – or 29 this year – days?