February is Black History Month, a month where many Philadelphia public schools spend time doing different activities that involve spreading awareness, and learning more about Black history. Growing up in a diverse city, most students seem to have memories doing a lot with black history month in their schools.
“In middle school black history month was a big thing” said Sophomore Soledad Alfaro. “We always did stuff related to malcolm x and martin luther king. I was always kind of like yeah ok we know this, there’s other stuff we could be talking about in the community of color, I think there’s more important things to think about and talk about, there is constantly new things that we should bring cultural awareness to.”
We found that our two biggest problems with BHM are that we already have MLK day which celebrates black history, and that if you give a month to one religion, culture, or ethnicity, the vast majority is going to feel left out.
This also brings up the question as to why public schools choose specific curriculum. Philadelphia schools offer African American history, while other schools favor Latin or Asian history, or no “minority” history at all.
We feel like Black History Month is almost an apologetic thing, and while we realize that it isn’t celebrated everywhere the way it is celebrated in diverse cities, it is a subject that may not need as much attention as other cultural/current events.
The way Black History Month could be improved would be by promoting it in places where there isn’t as much black culture. In places like Philadelphia where all students are required to take at least one full year African American History to graduate, it would be interesting to learn about new cultures, and also expand Black History beyond the same old lessons about MLK and the civil rights movement.
In places where there is no African American curriculum, there should be. America is a hugely diverse country, and in some places people act like it’s not. In order to spread more awareness, we need to focus on spreading information to places where there isn’t enough. There is no easy way to diversify a community and spreading awareness is hard.
Black History Month is well known because it has been around for a long time, and it does its job at honoring black history. We think the best way to spread awareness about other cultures and their history would be by asking schools to leverage social media such as twitter & facebook as a way of reaching out.
Unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the SLAMedia staff.
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