Black History Month matters: A teacher perspective

Bridgette Boone, Staff Writer

Black History Month is an exciting time for teachers. It’s new lessons and fun activities surrounding an amazing topic with tons of information. With so many options to choose from, Black History Month offers a set time devoted to talk about the people who played major roles in history. It is observed in Canada, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States.

This can be a great time for teachers and students in all subjects, a catalyst to talk about the different people throughout history. It goes from February first until the 28th, a “whole month.” I don’t think there is any problem with Black History Month; there’s a problem with teachers. There is a problem with the fact that most of our textbooks are made and approved by the state that has the largest school district, Texas. Most of the text teachers use in classes come for a state that still teaches the “war of union aggression.” Are we at a point in society where we need Black History Month to push in content that isn’t whitewashed beyond repair?

Since the Bush administration and No Child Left Behind, we have seen a huge push for standardized tests and an absence of critical thinking. Social studies and the arts have been pushed aside. Students are not being taught, plain and simple. They are not taught how to think, to question, to resist. It’s no wonder that Black History has been pushed to a month, a single month devoted to a topic that is and always will be integrated into American society. By celebrating Black history, we as a society have deemed it a necessary part of our discourse but for only one month. Teachers are too afraid to bring up race in the classroom, too afraid to ruffle feathers and talk about hard topics. But race is a social construct; we made it, and we can change how we view it and teach it. Teachers everywhere, especially the white ones, have an obligation to suck it up and teach. Teach, talk, learn and experience. Teachers have a duty to integrate information and make sure that Black history isn’t just one month out of a whole year, but that all people’s histories are being talked about in the classroom all year.

This article was originally published in the Feb. 22, 2019 issue.