All around the country a heated debate is taking place regarding race in relation to education. The answer really is simple: It belongs smack-dab in the middle of it. Attempting to teach American history without the discussion of race is missing out on a vital part of our history that will ultimately harm our country further.
All students, especially students of color, deserve an education that allows them the right to learn and talk about important issues such as racism. We as a society must acknowledge and teach the value, cultures, histories and modern-day contributions of all Americans, but especially those of marginalized communities that for decades have been invisible in classrooms. The ability to talk freely about the impact that race and racism has on both history and the present is a vital aspect of representation.
In my U.S. history class last year, we were constantly learning about how race affected history. We learned about the Black Codes and the failure of Reconstruction post-Civil War and its long-term effects. We discussed how slavery and sharecropping set the average black American back by decades. We understood that many actions have led to Black Americans being systemically harmed.
We as a country have an obligation to protect the ability to learn and discuss freely the effect that race and racism has had in America. If we fail to allow the teaching of what history was really like, it will be impossible to address the problems that we are facing as a nation.