Students must know history of colonization, slavery

It is imperative that the histories of slavery and colonization are not forgotten.

Photo Courtesy of Kelly Lacy under Pexels License

It is imperative that the histories of slavery and colonization are not forgotten.

Meilani Wilson, Opinions Writer

Being taught about slavery and colonialism is vital to all students. However, about 12 southern states are currently introducing new bills to limit how slavery is being taught in schools. Their primary purpose is to prohibit teaching students about U.S. history in a way that portrays white people as the enemy, or deamonizing colonists and proponents of slavery. It also aims to limit teacher led discussions on current issues relating to controversial political and racial topics. American history is a vital part of people’s understanding of American political systems. Taking away a vital source of knowledge would unjustly skew future generations’ perception of American history, culture and politics. 

These bills harm students because they would be robbed of the knowledge that is necessary for them to truly understand the framework of present day American society – both politically and culturally. Stopping students from learning about historical oppression negates the struggles of people of color(POC) in the U.S. The teaching of colonialism and slavery is not meant to deamonize the entire white race, it is meant to increase the knowledge of future generations. “I think it’s just like another move that’s trying to fuel white fragility because, I’ve noticed that when it comes to critical race theory, white people tend to think that just because they’re learning about what their past ancestors did, it makes them inherently bad, inherently evil which is false,” junior Udy Mbanaso said. 

Even though these bills are being passed in the south, leaving Montgomery County largely unaffected, it is important to consider the impacts of manipulating education to achieve political goals. These bills will not just impact POCs. Rather, they will hinder everyone’s right to a comprehensive education. “I think it sucks because slavery is important to history. It’s important to how everything got to where we are now and it just seems like they’re trying to brush it under the rug,” senior Michelle Yuen said. The elimination of education upon prominent historical events that are still impacting society to this day is potentially disastrous. “It could affect the way we learn because…if [children] are taught that nothing happened and…taught something incorrectly and…taught a skewed idea…then they’ll be blind to the truth…,”  junior Udy Mbanaso said.

This is also vital to educators at these schools because they have to limit what they can teach, fundamentally altering students’ understanding of reality and impacts of prominent historical events. History teacher Angela Robinson said, “It saddens me because students, in my experience, have always had questions about the institution of slavery…preventing students from learning about slavery… will just leave students with…so many questions…one of the purposes of education is to inspire students to explore the truth for themselves. I’m not sure that if we try to hide information from students that they will find it.” Many students also fear the impacts of not learning about prominent historical issues. Yuen said, “…if we learn less about this kind of stuff, then there’s gonna be a lot more hate because more people won’t understand why things are the way they are.”

These bills highlight the dismal reality of our current political climate, presenting the need for RM students to appreciate the diversity of the curriculum offered in Montgomery County. Without a diverse currciulm and the teaching of slavery and colonalism students percieption of the world will become jaded and based upon false narratives created by ovelry biased political leaders rather than objective historical facts and events. Students won’t understand the community they belong to and will be missing chunks of their history. These bills highlight a failing education system in perpetuating the acquisition of knowledge and fueling curiosity.