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The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

Ethnic Studies will give Gabrielino students broader perspective

By Bellefontaine Nhan | Staff Writer


   Racial discrimination and cultural appropriation have become one of the major problems that the world is currently battling. The consequences of avoiding offensive language, actions, or wearing certain clothing inappropriately has been highlighted again and again in the media. Whether the school is public or private, K-12 education facilities need to include ethnic studies within their curriculum. 

   Ethnic studies teach students a variety of lessons through race and ethnicity. These classes would mostly focus on underrepresented minority groups. This can impact a student’s knowledge by illustrating which statements and actions can insult their peers as well as other members of their community. 

   According to Northern Arizona University, “Ethnic studies is critical because it provides a multidisciplinary lens through which new approaches to learning will emerge,” the University continues, “It produces culturally competent, global citizens; provides graduates and scholars a professional, competitive advantage in the workforce; and represents diverse perspectives of reality in a globalized world.”

   Although it is difficult to know every single custom there is in the world, students are given the opportunity to understand other cultures and their traditions. Without the knowledge, students might interpret certain items or sayings incorrectly.

   For example, jade bracelets are typically valued by Asian culture. Some of its meanings include protection, luck, fortune, and affection. By making it just a fashion trend, its meaning and cultural connection is dismissed, making it cultural appropriation. 

   Ethnic studies can prevent such behaviors early on, avoiding possible complications in the future.

  Several states have already adopted ethnic studies into their curriculum. CNN states, ‘Last year, Connecticut announced it will require high schools to offer African-American, Black, Puerto Rican and Latino studies, becoming the first state in the nation to do so.” 

   The Los Alamitos school district went against committee and parent opinions and installed a ethnic studies program into all of the schools within their district. Orange County, in an interview with FoxNews, stated that, “ethnic studies [is] the interdisciplinary study of race, ethnicity, and Indigeneity, with an emphasis on the experiences of people of color in the United States.”

   In the current curriculum, history has been taught from a Eurocentric perspective. Most of history is focused on the colonizers and the white majority, rather than the struggle of the oppressed and unprivileged. Jim Lowen, a historian and sociologist, in a Washington Post article, explained how many textbook writers would alter certain historical events to not “offend school districts and thereby lose sales.” 

   History is supposed to be objective and cover all angles. When it is taught without those events that greatly impact and include minority groups, the youth are taught that the history of minority groups do not matter. “This “mystification” [of history] can come with significant societal implications,” writes Lowen. 

   Textbook providers are deliberately altering history as we know it. They would adjust the text to allude certain inferences and make specific topics more justifiable than others. In consequence, the “otherness” of non-Eurocentric ideas is developed due to the lack of inclusivity and objectiveness. 

   If inclusivity increases beginning in K-12, students are able to expand their horizons and create a world where everyone is accepted and understood. Depriving them of these classes will only be detrimental to the students.

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Ethnic Studies will give Gabrielino students broader perspective