What don’t they want you to know, and why (ASALH)
Too much emphasis has been put on the “fears” of White parents who do not want students to learn about America’s legacy of racism. In recent years, numerous school districts put their voices on a pedestal, drowning out the voices of Black parents and those from other marginalized groups. They act as if children who learn about figures like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Ida B. Wells or historical events like Tulsa Race Massacre will melt like the wicked witch when Dorthy tossed a bucket of water on her. In all reality, no one has ever died from learning black history, nor has anyone turned into a puddle on the floor. So why are so many White parents treating black history like the villain in American society?
If the child on the left was old enough to pick cotton and the child on the right was old enough to attend Klan rallies, then today’s children are old enough to learn about both of these and how they’ve led us to where we are today. pic.twitter.com/OFxeFpupOk
— AFRICAN & BLACK HISTORY (@AfricanArchives) August 18, 2023
While personal motivations may vary, White people benefit from maintaining the status quo in America, where they are more likely to own a home, run a business, and have access to clean air and water, properly-funded schools, and hospitals. Privilege shields White people from the harsh realities that Black people experience, and by banning books that shed light on these disparities, some are hoping to stitch a quilt of plausible deniability. As long as White people can claim they’re unaware of Black Americans’ second-class citizenship, they can justify blocking any effort to close the Grand Canyon-sized gap as a product of their ignorance rather than cruelty. If students learned about Black history and understood how the chattel slavery system perpetuates racial disparities in American society, it would be much more difficult to (1) openly oppose restorative justice for descendants of enslaved people and (2) demonize diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.