Article, “What Happens When American Children Learn About Racism? By Neil Lewis Jr.” It talks about the results of using topics that are difficult to talk about directly, such as racism, as an educational curriculum. This study was a field experiment conducted in high schools throughout the Chicago metropolitan area.
University of Chicago political scientist Matthew Nelsen randomly assigned about 700 high school students to read different versions of a history textbook and then measured how that affected students of different races. Nelsen found that students benefited more from reading textbooks that included content about the history of all racial backgrounds compared to students who read traditional history textbooks. When white children learned about racism, they were more likely to value racial fairness and show more positive attitudes and empathy toward black people. But there is now a movement to legally limit how race and racism are taught in schools. Congresswoman Elise Stefanik said New York State is using federal funds to impose critical race theory (CRT), a framework for understanding racism as a systemic problem, on students, causing reverse discrimination against white people. However, this claim arises from a lack of awareness of history. The history of black slavery and discrimination against racial minorities began a long time ago and continues to this day.
Dr. Rebecca Hall, who studied slavery and discrimination against minorities in depth, followed the traces of black slaves, especially female slaves, and explored slave revolts and human rights as women. She published this research into a graphic novel that is easy for people to understand. The name of the book is ‘Wake’.
What Happens When American Children Learn About Racism through Graphic Novel, 'Wake'?
Rebecca Hall, the author of this book, asked, ‘What was it that made women rise up at a specific time and place during a slave rebellion?’ She was curious about this. But it was never found in historical records. Although there were more rebellions in places where there were more women, no records were left in history.
When we look at the history of black people, we initially try to forget the horrors of their past. They tell him that it's all in the past and convince him that the present is more important. However, if we turn a blind eye and ignore this effort, minorities who have been oppressed, whose lives have been taken, and who have been deprived of their human rights as minimum human beings, that is, not only black people, but also women, children, LGBT, and other minorities, will continue to be oppressed in the future. And their trauma will still be ongoing. How to truly overcome trauma? When we integrate the past as part of the present, that is how we overcome trauma. And this mindset becomes the basis for understanding the world around us in its correct form rather than its twisted form.
In this sense, I think we should actively teach students as a curriculum through books like 'Wake'. There is a famous quote in Korea that says, ‘A people who forget their history has no future.’ Korea especially tries not to forget the lessons of the Japanese colonial era and the Korean War. And because of these efforts, even though the world is a divided country clearly at war, it maintains peace. Likewise, I believe we should never forget history.
Covering the sky with your palm does not block the sky. Can children who grow up seeing the obscured sky pioneer a new world with correct awareness and live well with others? Through education that hides, ignores, and ignores children, they may have to live in deep disgust and shame. In light of this, I couldn't help but wonder about Representative Elise Stefanik's shameful sense of history through her claims.
I think that if we truly study and know history properly, we should not talk about such things. Rather than solving problems, this attitude only breaks unity and makes people hate each other even more. I believe that in order for us to truly become one, we must each stand in the other person's shoes, empathize and understand, and work together to prevent something like that from happening again. I believe that this is the way to truly protect current and future students, allowing them to live together in a happy society and free them from crimes and conflicts caused by hate.
Myungja Anna Koh