I’m Opting Out

“So we’re different colours and we’re different creeds
And different people have different needs
It’s obvious you hate me though I’ve done nothing wrong
I’ve never even met you, so what could I have done?” — Martin Gore

I do some occasional moonlighting for another site. I hope everyone here can keep it a secret. See, no one there publishes under their given name. It’s not so much that any of us are ashamed of our opinions. I say stronger stuff here than I do there, but it’s just the way things are done. At any rate, I have to give credit to the site for relaying this story.

If you click on the main story within that little blurb you come to find out that the school is no longer allowing parents to opt out. That’s awfully white of them. That’s one of those reactions that they probably didn’t want to get out there. It was similar to the Denny’s in Denver that had a sign that said, “now serving everyone.” Gee, thanks.

On the one hand, I get why some people find the idea of a Black History month or Hispanic Heritage month offensive. Why should they have an entire month dedicated to them. They are right, it is offensive that we should have to do that. It’s like the people that complain about a LGTBQ+ pride parade. Why isn’t there a straight parade?

The answer is simple. Everyday is a straight parade. Every day is a white history day. When I taught history the state curriculum might as well have cut off four continents from the map. Kids for generations have grown up thinking Europeans invented the world. If you doubt that you should check out the public comments from Steve King.

There were too many to quote here, so I included a reference above. It’s hard to categorize that level of bigotry, but I could simply categorize it as the belief that Western Civilization is the only civilization worth a bucket of warm spit. I wonder where he got that idea from. Simply put, if you teach history the way that the state curriculum guide thinks you should teach history then the contributions of African-Americans, immigrants, and women are just a blip on the radar.

Obviously, good history teachers augment the state curriculum. They include other source material to give students a more well-rounded view of history. I know I tried to do that. It’s hard to know if you succeeded or not. The greatest thing you can foster is a desire to learn more. Certainly, there is only so much you can do in 185 days, but if you can foster a desire to learn more then you may come out ahead.

I’ve certainly found that to be the case. There are so many events they simply didn’t teach us in school. However, I’ve learned more as I watched more documentaries and read more history books throughout my life. So yes, I concede that the idea of having to have a black history month is offensive. The idea of cutting that history out entirely is much more offensive.

On some level I get it. There is only so much you can teach. Back in the good ole’ days, history teachers had a favorite unit. They could really throw out all the stops and slow down on a particular period or event in history. Those days are gone. That also means that deviating from the plan is discouraged. Walk down a history hallway these days and you see all the U.S. History teachers and World History teachers on the same PowerPoint.

That kind of world guarantees that every student will be exposed to what they “need” to be exposed to. It also destroys the joy of taking a history class. It destroys the discovery of what a history teacher finds to be important. I usually slowed down when we got to the Greeks and Egyptians. Others loved covering wars. A few even look more deeply at the contributions of women and people of color.

There aren’t enough of those though. That’s why we have a Black History month and a Hispanic Heritage month. Along the way we have acknowledged a need to expose students to the great contributions of all people. To think that some don’t want their children to be exposed is just incredibly sad. What’s the harm? I’m sure they have something invented in their minds.

Author: sbarzilla

I have written three books about baseball including The Hall of Fame Index. I also write for thefantatasyfix.com. You can follow me on twitter @sbarzilla.

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