My view: Black history is for white students

Kathryn Cherven '20, Copy Editor

Black History Month doesn’t feel all that special for me, as a black student; “Everyday is Black History Month” rings pretty true.

But that’s not the way most students at South, nor most students in the country, probably approach life because they’re not black. I appreciate the concept of non-black students being informed and cultured in black history in an environment where they may not typically have that exposure.

Our history books are historically whitewashed, leaving students with warped views of the past and the contributions of minorities to it. I appreciate teachers taking the time, even if they are mandated to do so, to help their students open their minds to worlds unknown.

If our schools don’t take the initiative to try helping students to learn about cultures other than their own, who’s going to do it? I don’t imagine that too many South kids head home after a day of school, sports and extracurriculars just to read things that inform them about history, let alone the history of a race they aren’t a part of.

Maybe it’s a long shot, but could the exposure a white student gets to black history during February help open her mind to a different perspective? I have hope that it could. I’m not insinuating that a few weeks of one fact or story a day will prevent racism, but it could be a platform for someone with prejudiced views to jump off from as he explores a culture he held contempt against.

I feel more comfortable knowing that I’m surrounding by peers who at least know some history that has affected me in particular, but truly all of us, even if they don’t understand it in its entirety or only know the shorthand fact they heard on the third hour announcements. When we can recognize that we need to recognize each other’s validity in history, we have more of a chance of recognizing the reality of the successes and struggles that we each face today.

Knowledge is power, but diverse knowledge is something even stronger. When kids are given access to a diversified body of thought by the teachers they know and trust, wonderful things can happen.