why study african american history? Bryce-LaPorte further supports Black Studies on the basis that mutual respect for Afro-Americans must come through increased knowledge of their contribution to American culture. However, Devlin (1970) remarks that the rewriting of American history to give the Negro his rightful place is overdue.
Since the fifteenth century, ethnocentrism (belief in the superiority of your own ethnic group), and xenophobia (extreme dislike or fear of foreigners) have characterized, constructed, and conditioned the European attitude towards African community. As such, in the spirit of Eurocentrism, the African community could not and cannot be integrated as a social equal. Eurocentric exclusiveness and its striving for global dominance left no place for the African except bondage, slavery and second-class citizenship. Eurocentric doctrine does not accept Africans based on their humanitarian virtues because of the skin color.
why study african american history? Linus A. Hoskins, 1992 The delightful history and forward-looking advancement/ contribution of African community to humanitarian traits have already been well documented to drive off the Eurocentric fable that the African continent was dark and its people backward, inferior and uncivilized.
The point of focus here is that mere survival forced Europeans to adopt this offensive geopolitical strategy; in other words, Europe had to formulate a reverse intellectual conflict plan to show that certainly they were exceptional and better than the Africans who were inferior. It is also important to understand that a predominant mode of operation of imperialism (colonialism) was to associate Eurocentrism (Western-centrism) “with ingrained qualities of excellence in intelligence, beauty and the right to rule other races. Its reverse impact on the African continent was to demean his physical subordination and color that had been thrusted by force came to be associated with the (African’s) inherited qualities” (Magubane, 1989, p. 33). This mission was accomplished through poor education or wrong education of the African community and the fabrication or distortion of his history. As Kwame Ture (1975) once warned: “If you don’t know who you are, you would not know what your interests are.” A people without a sense of history are not well equipped to visualize and plan a future because of an unclear and forged/falsified picture of their past. A people without the knowledge of “having done” will have too much difficulty acknowledging the motivation of “can do. “Or as the slain Pan-African nationalist Malcolm X (1963) put it in a speech delivered November 10, 1963, in Detroit,
Stearns (1998) stated that history motivates and instills habits of mind that are essential for responsible public behavior, whether as a community or national leader, a petitioner, an informed voter, or a simple observer. (habits of minds: continuing to exist (persisting). …handling and enduring impulsiveness. …Listening to Others with Understanding and fellowship. …Thinking Flexibly. … Thinking About Our Thinking (Metacognition) …Striving for Accuracy and Precision. …Questioning and Posing Problems. …Applying Past knowledge and information to New Situations.
Harper (1977), In general, the traditional curriculum forces the Black student to alienate himself and to psychologically or physically drop out of the regular school curriculum, thus many times seeking to satisfy his needs in unhealthy ways that can of ten victimize himself and others.
Baruti Kafele, teacher, administrator Newark New Jersey, principal, motivational speaker and bestselling author, contents that if low achieving students are to succeed in school, they need educator support. Students’ success is more likely when educators are award of the black history and culture including the history and culture of blacks in America, as well as student’s experiences.
History is something that is important for all people to know and learn because history can be told to people in unrealistic or false ways, leaving out the African American and their contributions and their heritage. The Executive Board of Organization of United States of America Historians talks about how history matters because students “learn the history of their country, the principles on which its foundation was laid, the performance of its government, the origins of our freedoms, and how we have responded to past threats from abroad, not to mention it teaches them to be citizens, to understand their world, and to comprehend America’s relationships to other nations,” (oah.org, 2004).
When African students miss their identity that is based on their understanding of both their history and their future, they miss out at knowing and understanding what it is like to be an American. The students that miss the knowledge of their past miss the knowledge of their heritage and what connects them to be American’s.
Maureen Costello the Teaching Tolerance director at the Southern Poverty Law Center has written a report teaching African American History and reports that 90% of teacher report feeling comfortable teaching the material, however, the reason it hasn’t been integrated is because the United State hasn’t fully dealt with its racial past, Jason Fuller “How to Teach Black History”, 2019
why study african american history? Multicultural education will provide students with opportunities to learn about their history, which is directly connected to the school curriculum. These opportunities will make learning relevant to all students and will instill students of color with a positive cultural identity (Moore, Ford, & Ford, 2005).
Alan K. Colon. 1984, As such, Black Studies serves three major functions: (1) corrective-the distortions and fallacies surrounding and projected against Blacks for elitist and racial and cultural supremacist purposes are countered with factual knowledge and critical historical interpretation; (2) descriptive-the past and present events that constitute the Black experience are accurately documented; and (3) prescriptive- concepts, theories, programs, and movements toward the alleviation or resolution of group problems faced by Blacks are generated and promoted.
It furthers the democratic principles of social justice because it uses critical pedagogy as its underlying philosophy and focuses on knowledge, reflection, and action (praxis) as the basis for social change. (p. 208)
(11.) ByJohn H Stanfield II, 2016 The normality of Americans’ intolerance toward those who look and act differently is perhaps the major reason why the United States is experiencing difficulty coming of age in this post-Cold War era. Contrary to the way in which most Americans are taught to think about themselves and others, the post-Cold War period necessitates global identity. The most effective citizens in this period will be those who can understand and cross-cultural boundaries with ease and who are knowledgeable of paradigms that are larger than their own local and national boundaries. However, such an extended worldview may prove difficult for most Americans to grasp because we are generally socialized to view differ¬ences through the bifocal lenses of fear and hostility, especially when it comes to regarding populations who deviate culturally and physically from Eurocentric somatic norm-images.
why study african american history: ByJohn H Stanfield II, 2016, What makes the history of Euro-American racism directed against people of color so brutal is that it has involved not only symbolic strikes against populations with non-White skin pigmentation but also the sys¬tematic, if not outright, degradation of non-European ethnic cultures. This has been accomplished through the exclusion or relegation of people of color to the margins of American civil and religious practices, social science, textbook history, literature, and other forms of print and elec¬tronic media (Stanfield, 1985a). Through such mechanisms, Euro-Ameri¬can elites and general publics have engendered the historically specific impression that the cultures of people of color are inferior to rather than different from those of the majority-White “host society.”
why study african american history: Black Studies has been, in the words of William H. McClendon, “in the forefront for developing and strengthening the intellectual, social and political thought necessary for human liberation.”11
The difficulties associated with advancing Black Studies are surpassed by the need to do so. To be remiss in continuing that struggle would be a catastrophe that we can ill afford, with consequences that future generations should not have to bear.