Still being oppressed by the system?
Recently I have been thinking about how the education system teaches us about Black people.
It's taught with only theme in mind : Oppression.
Whenever we ever have black history month we only ever learn about slavery and the civil rights movement. That is literally it. Every single year. We talk about how bad things were for black people. We talk about the oppression that black people faced and that is it.
In history why have I never learnt that it was the black physician Charles Drew that discovered how to process and preserve blood plasm which created blood banks?
Why did I never learn about Philip Emeagwali's impact on computers and the internet?
Why have I never learnt that Dr. Shirley Jackson, the first African-American woman to earn a doctorate in nuclear physics at MIT, allowed touch-tone telephone, call waiting and caller ID to be invented?
There are many Black individuals that are the reasons we have what we have today, but I never learnt about this stuff at school. I had to do my own research to find out about this. If I spoke to year 8 school students they would probably be able to tell me so many facts about the civil rights movement but if I mentioned the names Charles Drew, Philip Emeagwali or Shirley Jackson, they would probably have no clue who I'm talking about.
I'm not saying that we shouldn't learn about slavery and civil rights. We should. They are significant parts of black history. But year after year, that is all I ever learnt. From primary school right up to sixth form, it is all my teachers ever taught me. They had so many opportunities to teach us more. The education board has so many opportunities to add more black history to the curriculum but they do not.
This issue doesn't only just lie within the history department. I have seen it happen in the English department, even now as a second year university student, I see how the focus still remains on oppression. Whenever we have a black author in our modules, whether it be school or university, the novel will always be focused on some form of oppression towards black people. Why? There are many other great novels by black authors that do not focus on oppression which can be used in these modules. Yet these books aren't chosen? Why? I'm always asking why but no one can answer me.
I do English literature and Philosophy so I'm not exaggerating when I say I read A LOT of books Of all the books I've had to read so far, which has probably been around 50, if not more, I have only studied 3 black authors. Three. Three out of fifty. Three of out those fifty were books about oppression.
In one of my modules we covered fairytales and folktales. There are so many African folktales. Did we study any for this module? No. Why?
It doesn't make sense. I am continuously asking why but I am only one voice. We need more people to ask why. There are significant black people in every field, so whatever you are studying, question your lecturers and teachers and ask why your curriculum and modules are completely white. They shouldn't be.
Ask why. It is important. There is more to learn, I promise you.