Decolonizing the Education System in the US

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Changing the system of inequalities and racism in our institutions begins with the reform of primary and secondary education. Exposure to the various voices of indigenous, black, and people of color’s voices is important because it empowers these communities which allows them to combat the systemic racism within our education system. Equally as it is important to teach children about the historical, institutionalized racism within the United States, the exposure of minority voices would be an informative pairing that encourages children to recognize the aforementioned communities. Much of the history taught in schools is mainly presented through the predominant lens of western colonizers, effectively silencing and dismissing all other voices. Censoring or teaching material revolving around Black, Indiginous, and other POC’s voices in a dismissive way has only served to damage our sociocultural framework, and is a practice that is thoroughly harmful to future generations.  

Essentially we are decolonizing the curriculum. It is necessary for the United States Department of Education, the Secretary of Education Betsy Devos as well as the relative Boards of Education in individual states, to reform the literature within the current curriculum. We are asking for a change in the texts that are required in school systems and an update on the POC and Black voices that are equally relevant to their white counterparts. 

If we are going to study Shakespeare, let us also study plays from Wole Soyinka and Ariel Dorfman.

If we are reading poems and prose from Emily Dickinson and Edgar Allen Poe then we should include Sir Derek Alton Walcott, June Jordan, Hoa Nguyen, and Rupi Kaur. 

If we are reading George Orwell, let us also read Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Khaled Hosseini, Angela Davis and James Baldwin.

We have all been witness to the importance of educating ourselves, family members, and coworkers about the available texts that highlight the movements within communities, and their important contributions to the fine arts, literature, politics, technology, and much more. It is now time to shift our awakening to the younger generation.