Why Race Relations is an Important Class

A look into how Boulder High is doing

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Oladimeji Odunsi via Unsplash.

February: a month to intentionally reflect on the jagged racist path of our nation and show appreciation and respect for African American culture.

Lauren Carvalho, Staff Writer

Schools in America are not required to teach classes about the history of African-Americans, unlike required courses such as math and language arts. Therefore, there is no singular platform or curriculum that teachers are obligated to follow when teaching students about America and its twisted past. Nikita Stewart, an author for The New York Times Magazine, wrote an article on how America has failed in teaching its youth about slavery in her article “Why Can’t We Teach Slavery Right in America?” One of the paragraphs that struck me says, “For generations, we’ve been unwilling to [teach slavery.] …[and] students graduate with a poor understanding of how slavery shaped our country, and they are unable to recognize the powerful and lasting effects it has had.” 

NPR’s Why Schools Fail To Teach Slavery’s ‘Hard History’ reviewed a survey that was given to 1,000 high school seniors, and the results subpar. A third of students identified the 13 Amendment as the law that ended slavery. Fewer than half knew the purpose of the middle passage. Eight percent chose slavery as the cause for the southern succession, and fifty percent blamed taxes on imported goods.

Nearly half of the students blamed taxes on imported goods on the South’s secession from the Union. Question & responses provided by NPR.

Mr. Salazar, one of the race relations teachers at Boulder High, had this to say: “I believe that standard history courses gloss over the legacy of slavery, the contribution of black Americans, to the fabric of this nation, and understanding the effects of modern race relations today. Where we came from, where we are now, and where we are going.” He wants Boulder High students to “understand that racism is pervasive in our society today. The Civil Rights Movement did not end racism. The BHS community needs to be aware that white supremacy is on the rise again, and it’s important to be armed with the knowledge of why we are here and where we can potentially go.” He highly recommends for students to take race relations while taking American History so that they are getting a full understanding of how our country is founded and the underrepresentation of black Americans throughout history. Students should keep an eye out for posters made by the race-relations class, which will be plastered around the school. Take a moment to read these posters, and to celebrate Black History Month.