The Past Affects Our Present
I will graduate from Guilford High School this spring. I often hear, “You won’t live in Guilford forever.” There’s a whole world out there, and it’s the educators’ role to prepare students to be compassionate and understanding citizens. A curriculum that teaches white-washed history will not give us the skills we need to thrive.
Some in Guilford want to teach students that systemic racism doesn’t exist today, that that is in the past, like slavery and Jim Crow. But the past affects our present. Acknowledging the past and current flaws of our country is not anti-American; denying systemic racism for White comfort is. If the truth makes you uncomfortable, that doesn’t give you a pass to deny it. Education cannot serve the interests of White students by lying about history and ignoring issues we face today.
A diverse curriculum creates greater cultural awareness and inclusion, helps those of us with different backgrounds succeed, fosters acceptance, and helps all students thrive. If we are taught to be colorblind, we will learn to ignore a reality that leaves us ill-equipped to understand the conflicts and disparities we will encounter in our future. This approach also masks the harm that non-White students may experience.
I am proud of the progress we have made recently. I say we don’t let that progress be reversed. There will always be people who, because of their fear, will stand in the way of positive change. We can’t cater to that fear. I’m proud that Guilford’s Board of Education has worked to create a more inclusive and antiracist school environment.