Include Black British History in the national education curriculum
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In light of recent events, of which I am sure you are undoubtedly aware, I have vowed to educate myself on issues of engrained, systemic racism here in the UK and internationally.
I am privileged, and now more than ever, grotesquely aware of that privilege which is bestowed upon me purely because of the colour of my skin. I am also becoming increasingly mortified about how shamefully late I am to the party in undertaking this duty of learning about my privilege and, more importantly, people of colour’s lack thereof.
As I delve into this subject through reading, researching and listening - I am shocked and appalled by the history of our country. Which brings me to my point; the true series of events which lead to the wonderful pockets of diversity found throughout the UK today is not coherent with the narrative I was taught at school. It is not something to be proud of. Centuries of important information glossed over, absent or completely denied due to sheer ignorance or because it is simply too uncomfortable to sit with.
I am writing with a plea to change that. We should be uncomfortable. We should sit in the shame and the guilt of the way that our ancestors treated those who don’t look like us. Children should be told the truth and given the tools to engage with uncomfortable topics so that they can go out into the world, fully informed, and address racism wherever they may find it. In a time where we have never had greater access to information, we should utilise it.
I have had to come to the realisation that this is self-study I will need to do as a fully formed adult and that there are many things I will need to unlearn. I will undoubtedly, inadvertently hurt people’s feelings by trying to open a dialogue with my black friends and saying the wrong thing. I am prepared to do the work because it is necessary- and the education system didn’t teach me. I am asking you to ensure that future generations start their journey far sooner than this and that British black history alongside anti-racism is included in the Scottish and National education curriculum. (The current curriculum only includes Black History Month).
You have power. Throughout history, there are those who abuse that power to continue to oppress, and those who use it for good. I’m sure you will have seen the Desmond Tutu quote being banded around over the last few days but it has never felt more fitting:
“If you choose to stay neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor”
It starts with education, it starts here. Which side are you on?
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