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To: Department of Education

Introduce a Race Relations Class into High School Curriculum

Introduce a Race Relations Class into High School Curriculum

Support a class to educate students about race and break down stereotypes about those of different backgrounds. Help integrate our schools and end modern racial segregation.

Why is this important?

This petition is to appeal to the Department of Education to add a Race Relations class to the high school curriculum to foster greater understanding between students of different backgrounds.

America is currently polarized across racial lines, and these divisions are only growing. These biases are fostered from a young age and carry into adulthood. We have always been taught that the civil rights movement was the beginning of the end for racism and that education was going to be the final blow. We were told that diversifying our classrooms would break down racial stereotypes in the next generation. However, it's become apparent that this isn't effective. Very little progress has been made since such efforts began.

The problem is clear. Schools are trying to increase the number of minorities in their school, hoping that by simply putting students of varying backgrounds into the same classroom, cross-cultural relations and understanding between students will form on their own. In a perfect world, this approach may work. However, we live in a world where kids are constantly influenced by their surroundings and racial biases form from an early age. Because of this, a passive approach simply won't work. A more active approach is required if any real change is ever going to happen. Diversity is just a series of statistics. It's simply the presence of different backgrounds under the same roof. Diversity is the prerequisite for change. Real change can only happen by means of integration- building a sense of understanding, breaking down misconceptions, and constructing a baseline of trust and respect among students of varying backgrounds.

But why a class? For starters, the cause of racism is a misunderstanding between people of different backgrounds. These phobias are only fostered by conversations in households. School is meant to be an environment to learn and grow. Therefore, there is no better place for students to learn about one another than in schools. According to Yale Professor Albert Laguna claimed this is, "One class all students should take."

Also, as studies have shown, this class is something that will be most effective early in life. By waiting until college, which is when these classes are currently offered, most prejudices have already been ingrained and cemented into students' thinking. Instead, by offering this class in high schools, we allow students to develop ideas about other races before they have been formed and while they are still malleable.

Currently, the only such material regarding race in the classroom is very superficial and spread far and wide. It's time we stop ignoring this critical aspect of our education and dedicate real time towards it.

This class has to be included in our schools' curriculum. By continuing the passive approach that schools have taken towards educating students about race and the implications a lack of understanding has on our society, we are contributing to the racial divide happening in our nation. Sign this petition and let us take a step towards giving our students a more well-rounded education that prepares them for a more equitable and understanding society.

"Educating ourselves and others about race is an essential step in the process of change." - Beverly Daniel Tatum

"We will not move forward in Race Relations if we are comfortable. We must embrace the discomfort." - Robin DiAngelo

Summary of Reasons and Advantages for Race Relations Class:

Students gain a better understanding of the outlook of classmates from different racial backgrounds
The only source of discussion on race is through household conversations, which are often biased. A class will offer students a more well-rounded base of information.
Current curriculum passingly touches the topic of race without any depth. Offering a dedicated class will fill a clear gap in students' education
Similar courses at the university level are lauded for their impact on students, but they are not accessible to most students. Offering it at the high school level enables all students to take such a class.
Racial biases are formed from a young age. Offering a class that delves into race relations will influence a child before prejudices fully develop and become cemented into thinking.

References:

https://www.cnn.com/2015/11/10/opinions/laguna-race-ethnic-studies-university/index.html
https://www.theodysseyonline.com/what-my-race-relations-class-taught-me
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/233175919_Raising_Ethnic-Racial_Consciousness_The_Relationship_Between_Intergroup_Dialogues_and_Adolescents'_Ethnic-Racial_Identity_and_Racism_Awareness

Category


Reasons for signing

  • The pendulum needs to swing away from anti blackness. This would be a great step.

Updates

2019-07-13 23:54:56 -0700

50 signatures reached

2019-07-12 11:13:36 -0700

25 signatures reached

2019-07-11 16:07:34 -0700

10 signatures reached