Introduce A School Map That Doesn't Racially Discriminate Ethnic Minorities
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I ask for your help and support in challenging the Governors, the Department of Education and the Houses of Parliament of the UK in amending a 400 year old narrative (set in 1569), that depicts Africa and less economically developed countries to be inaccurately displayed on maps in classrooms, be it private education, local authority-maintained schools or schools that fit under the ISCED (International Standard Classification of Education).
In 1569, a map was created by a Flemish cartographer ‘Gerardus Mercator’. His map was used as a navigation instrument for sailors to plot distances on an arced surface. Sailors found this map helpful when following a course with parallel alignment and triangle rules. Back then, proper tests were not fulfilled as there are distortions in the longitude and latitude coordinations. With map having distortions, this also means that shapes and relative sizes of land masses are incorrect. Here are a few examples:
- Greenland is depicted to be the same size as Africa when Africa is actually 14 Times larger.
- Greenland may look like a large land mass but, due to its distortion, you won’t know that Greenland can fit inside of China just over 4 Times.
- Also, the cold north aka Scandinavian countries have been portrayed to be bigger than India, whereas, India is 3 Times larger.
- Europe appears a lot bigger in comparison to South America, when in fact Europe is only 3.9 Million Square Miles and South America is 6.8 Million Square Miles in geographical area.
- Alaska is seen as nearly 4 Times bigger than Mexico, with its geographical area being 663,300 Square Miles, correlated to Mexico’s area of 758,400 Square Miles.
- Germany, Belgium, and France have been placed right in the middle of the map; however, the distortion doesn’t place Europe in the right place, having these 3 countries placed properly would have them located in the most northern quarter of the earth.
Not only is the ‘Mercator’ map deformed, it was used for sailors during the 16th Century. Now, we cannot ignore the fact that this was only 60 years after Christopher Columbus set sail across the Atlantic Ocean to colonize the Americas. We could argue that, the same map we use across our academia in schools, is the same map European Imperialists and Empires used to conquer nations during the Triangular Transatlantic Slave Trade. Not only is this a map misrepresented, it also paints a subliminal image of the north having domination over the south of the equator. The northern sectors have been enlarged whilst the southern areas have been minimalized. We could say this played a part in Modernity as; the central weakness of this neo-Marxian theoretical framework of racism is a product of European Capitalist Imperialism.
An alternative to Mercator’s map, there is a more accurate map which restores LEDC’s back to their rightful proportions. ‘Gall-Peters Projection’ is a more rectangular map that pinpoints areas to have their correct sizes in relation to one another. This map is named after ‘James Gall’ and ‘Arno Peters’. Gall produced a map of this caliber in 1855, but it was Peters that showcased this map with a few tweaks in 1973, to the world called “Peters World Map”. It became more known as Gall-Peters map from 1986. Peters argued that Mercator maps were giving White Nations a sense of Supremacy over Non-White Nations. Salvatore Natoli, of the National Council for Social Studies, argues, "In our society, we unconsciously equate size with importance and even power." Through TV and media platforms we are bombarded with the narrative of Africa being poor and not possessing any great wealth, but for its raw materials alone Africa is no-doubt the richest continent on the planet. The national curriculum has always fostered European ideologies, giving ethnic bias against the “3rd World”, thus creating the racist rhetoric that breeds discrimination and inequality.
By making Gall-Peters Projection mandatory in schools especially when teaching Geography, we can start to convey a great sense of liberation from the classrooms outwards. Our nation pretends it doesn’t have a mask of integration that covers segregation, well let’s challenge the notion and push for a basic scientific fact that our “black and brown” nations are delineated correctly.
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