I was seven years old when someone called me “brownie” for the first time. People have also asked me if I’m “related to terrorists,” have called me “uncivilized,” and have made fun of my culture. I experience this on a pretty regular basis. Most of the time it comes from people my age, who don’t mean to be racist but are just completely unaware and insensitive to the blatant racism present in American culture.
That’s why it’s so important for schools to implement a diverse curriculum. We live in a diverse society; it’s time for school curriculums to reflect that. When schools start to address issues about race and incorporate stories about different countries around the world, we can finally start to confront our prejudices and overcome them. Furthermore, it has been proven that diversity in the classroom promotes empathy in students, improves student achievement, and fosters creativity.
High schools must start implementing a more diverse curriculum and address America’s racist history, today’s systemic racism, and stories from other people of color from more countries around the world. This will make students of color feel safer in classrooms, knowing that their voices are heard, and it will allow white students to become more aware of racial issues in this country. High school is an optimal time to introduce topics of anti-racism; a student’s mindset is shaped by their primary and secondary education. Schools are severely underutilizing their influence and resources to combat racism. It’s time they do better.