The importance of representative history

March 19, 2021

In regards to history, it is essential for students to obtain a level of empathy for all peoples. Thus, we should provide literature that does more than just showcase a single narrative of our past.”

— Peter Kurtz (History Teacher)

Working to diversify our literature and curricula allows us to experience and learn about events from different perspectives, particularly when it comes to history. Doing this makes it easier for us to connect with other people.

“In regards to history, it is essential for students to obtain a level of empathy for all peoples. Thus, we should provide literature that does more than just showcase a single narrative of our past,” Kurtz said. 

There is always more than one side to a story. By including more diverse narratives in our history reading, students are able to gain a more holistic picture of historical events.

“We should be making sure that our curriculum represents our society. We can’t just select white narratives or African American narratives or Asian narratives. When adopting a history curriculum, we try to consider the American story from multiple perspectives,” Mellish said. 

Doing this also ensures that people’s stories are not erased from history and gives minority students the chance to learn about history through the eyes of their ancestors.

“Often, when we learn about U.S. history, we focus on the colonizers and founding fathers. As a black student, it can be really hard to see and connect to that,” junior Amira Turner said. “We need to be better at teaching black history not only through its relation to ‘white history.’ Black history doesn’t start with slavery, and it doesn’t end with the civil rights movement.”

It’s important that we strive to teach the entirety of history–the good, the bad, and the ugly. That will not only teach a broader perspective but also give students a greater understanding of other people, something society can only benefit from. 

“Censorship and division are not the way forward. We need to have a collective and genuine approach that is inclusive and considerate,” Kurtz said. 

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