Yes! We all know our educational system is HELLA white, that’s not even opinions its facts! When will we see a curriculum that celebrates and explores black history?!
From Primary school to GCSE I was taught about medieval warriors to monarchs and the Holocaust. The closest thing I learned to black British history was the civil rights movement in America.
I did appreciate this, during this time in America there was much talk about the Black Lives matter movement and police brutality. My teachers took time to teach us both about the civil right movement and its progression for black peoples yet the stagnation of black emancipation in 21st century America.
Yet, the narrative they told of the civil rights movement, was one the generic twisted tale. The black panthers painted as violent thugs, Malcolm X as a radical extremist and John F Kennedy as the white savior for black freedom.
Keep in mind the civil right movement was my coursework, it wasn’t even part of the core curriculum, just an elective. I doubt its even still taught…
Moving onto A-Levels, I decided to take history, prior to this point in my educational career, I had never questioned the curriculum that the national government had imposed or ever saw it as exclusive of people colour.
However, moving into a 99% white racist school (blog post coming soon) my blackness had become more evident to me, now more than ever.
I STARTED TO WONDER WHERE THE HELL WAS HISTORY ABOUT ANYTHING OTHER THAN WHITE PEOPLE.
Even with such thoughts, I subdued my questioning and reasoned that, “there probably wasn’t black people in the UK in the 1900’s I’ll wait later into my course”.
But, I knew fully well in English literature I was learning Othello, a Shakespeare play written about a BLACK MAN in 16th century Europe (I was playing myself).
Subconsciously, I was becoming preconditioned to believe that the works of my ancestors were irrelevant and non-contributory, yet they were pivotal and have and will always be pivotal in Britain.
Anyway, we finally reached the end of my course, the part I had been waiting for. A dedicated section about the mass migration of Caribbean and other black immigrants into Britain.
After all the waiting, what do I find? less than quarter of a page in my AQA textbook dedicated to ethnic minorities. After spending two years of my course learning about white leaders, activists, and ‘distinguished’ peoples I find less than a quarter of page dedicated to black people.
To add salt to my wound, there wasn’t even a detailed explanation of the issues faced by minorities. There wasn’t a mention of the Bristol bus boycott, Mangrove Nine, and Black People’s March.
Instead, a perfect picture of the economic and social advantage of colonialism was praised.
It doesn’t surprise me that a YouGov poll in 2016 highlighted that 44% of people found colonialism positive. When were only fed the positives of the mass enslavement of ethnic peoples why would people think otherwise?
Now there are thousands of articles ridiculing the British curriculum and there have been various movement, all which will be listed below if you wish to read.
But, something I continuously see people missing out on is, why? Why has the curriculum continued to stay so stagnant in its approach for diversification? Why do our education leaders refuse to admit and discuss the contributions of people of colour in Britain?
For me the answer is simple, they both don’t want to and don’t care to. Our government fails to see the need for anything more than a Eurocentric educational system.
Anything outside that is untouched ground that they fear to expose, and as long as we have pro colonists like Niall Ferguson rewriting our curriculum, Britain cannot call its educational system inclusive.
So, what do we do? Carry on learning our Eurocentric curriculum?
1) Elevate your knowledge, take time to do your own research (research that is relevant to your course USE IT! Most of the time, independent research will get you higher marks but don’t quote me ask your teacher.
2) TEACHERS! A-Levels are a 2-year crash course with no brakes, but if possible drop in information that will elevate our knowledge (the UK has always been more than its white male population)
3) MAKE THE CHANGE
Black British History Must Feature throughout the School Curriculum
Corbyn Is Right – British History Lessons Need An Overhaul
Why is My Curriculum White?
Why does British higher education remain so whitewashed?
White-Washing British History