As President Trump continues to ignite the fire of racial tension within the US, the country has become ever more polarized. White supremacists in today’s America get nothing but a slap on the wrist — according to President Trump, there was “blame on both sides” regarding the events in Charlottesville. Yet, he referred to NFL players and peaceful protestors as “sons of b**ches” in Alabama.
There have been many troubling manifestations of racial prejudice, even at Princeton High School. The so-called ‘Alcoholocaust’ event and the leaked Snapchat message containing racial slurs are evidence enough of a racism problem. Just like how acts of discrimination and racism across America have illuminated the need for understanding other cultures and diversity, these incidents only reinforce the need for greater education on race and culture at PHS.
The newly-implemented racial literacy course will shed light on the effects and origins of racism and prejudice in daily life. The racial literacy course, originally proposed by the Minority Student Achievement Network, was remodeled after a curriculum proposed by Roberto Schiraldi, board representative of the local organization Not In Our Town, an organization that focuses on combating racial injustice. PHS is not the first school to implement a course promoting racial awareness and certainly will not be the last.
The textbook used in the course aims to combat racism by spreading awareness of the issue in communities and making it easier to discuss race in a classroom setting. Even if someone believed that racism does not exist in our community, it should be evident enough, given the general contours of American history and the thrust of current events, that racism is an important issue that we need to discuss. In the class, a diversity of perspectives are offered on issues regarding race — (list books used in the class). (Talk about some of these books). While studying and analyzing these books, students will leave the class with not only a more developed understanding of race and its surrounding issues, but also with a voice to speak confidently and intelligently about those issues.
However, a single racial literacy class is not enough. What really needs to be put into effect is an entire curriculum specifically created to address the issue of race. With something as nuanced, multi-layered, and complex as race, it would be impossible to discuss everything that needs to be discussed regarding race. Covering the subject of race means covering the history of race, slavery, and racism; it means discussing the sociological and socioeconomic implications of race throughout history and in modern society; it means understanding the psychological, societal, and emotional basis for racism and the forces that instigate and perpetuate it. All at once, the issue of race warrants a dedicated world history course, a psychology course, and a sociology course.
Thus, it is absolutely the implementation of the new racial literacy curriculum is necessary. Only a curriculum, covering the many facets of race, can act as a force of good — promoting and teaching the skills needed to create more harmonious discussions regarding race. And discussion, though seemingly innocuous and unimportant, is the key to resolving the issue of racism nationally.