George Lucas Educational Foundation

Removing the Euro-Centric Curriculum

Removing the Euro-Centric Curriculum

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Here are some questions I have after reading "Courageous Conversations" by Glenn Singleton and Curtis W. (Wallace) Linton Definition of racism and racist: "one set of characteristics is superior [or more beautiful] than an another... A racist is someone who subscribes to these beliefs and perpetuates them consciously or unconsciously. Racism does not require intent." from "Courageous Conversations" "Euro-centrism is the practice of viewing the world from a European perspective and with an implied belief, either consciously or subconsciously, in the preeminence of European culture." Wikipedia Premise: The root cause of institutional racism and thus the achievement gap, is the Euro-centric curriculum and the Euro-centric dominent society. [1] How do we fix it? How do we make repairations for the damage? How do we counsel the White students and parents? How do we avoid having the next dominate culture becoming racist? The term "People of Color", by definition, excludes White people because they have no color. Can we develope a new meta language that doesn't isolate White poeple? 1 Please see "Reform Starts Here" topic "A NEW VISION FOR SCHOOLS & EDUCATION IN AMERICA" started by Rock Barrera.

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Bob Charles's picture
Bob Charles
I am in search of definitions for "Quality Eduction" and "Great School".

"Courageous Conversations" equate White people with the dominent culture and Euro-centric cultural heritage. It also suggests that racist acts can be without intent and subconcious. The White person may not even know they are racist.

How can White teachers be screened prior to teaching students of color?

How do they learn to teach non Euro-centricly and still maintain their european heritage?

Mary Kate Land's picture
Mary Kate Land
Montessori 4-6th grade teacher

Paper is white, but people are not.
Anglo-American implies English descent.
Is language insufficient to express our actual meaning in concise ways, or is the process of racial grouping just so circuitous and illogical that the concepts have lost their ability to transmit meaning?
It is nearly impossible to grow up as part of the dominant culture in the US and not acquire the racism inherent in the culture, to one degree or another. Indeed, these types of biases are all too common among people of color in the US as well!
What to do about it? Acknowledge it, contribute to the building social trend toward more adaptive ways of thinking, and teach social curriculae from multiple points of view. It's also very important to have conflict resolution vehicles avaiable to students.
An Iranian-American student (10 y o) brought up an incident during our class meeting which had been very troubling to her. Another student had made disparaging remarks about Iran, and she took it to mean the remarks were for her. It led to a great discussion about the difference between the citizen and the government, and about refugees from political turmoil. And the little girl learned that she wasn't the only person in our class whose family had fled turmoil abroad...she was simply the only one from Iran. We might never have had that discussion were it not for the inappropriate comment made by (sorry to say) a student of non-color (clear?).


Bob Charles's picture
Bob Charles
I am in search of definitions for "Quality Eduction" and "Great School".

One way we can make our country a better multicultural environment is to remove government sponsored cultural artifacts. Like those statues of generals in the parks; the Greek and Roman architecture of government buildings; the Statue of Liberty; All those quotes on the government buildings; all those monuments; I could go on and on. The government needs to be culturally blind.

Just because someone was here first (since 1789) does not give them special privileged to establish national artifacts. Let the Anglos take their Jefferson and Washington statues and put them in their yards. I am sure George Washington did not want his face on a coin or a statue of him in a park. Read about him in "1776" by David-McCullough. He didn't want to be King; he didn't want to be worshiped; he didn't want to be some dead-white-man idol to be rubbed in the faces of people of color.

Let local communities or private citizens decide on the artifacts of the cultures they want. And when a neighborhood changes from one culture to another they have the right to replace the artifacts. Or better let the leaving culture take them with them.

It is best that the government/public schools stay out of the culture/race/ethnicity business.

I really believe the government/state/public schools should be extremely limited. And cultural/racial/ethnic education should be taught out side the system. I invision 2 days of government school and three days of cultural school. Government school teaches English language arts, math, and science. On a completely separate budget, the cultural schools teach art, music, social studies, health, football (both types), band, other languages. The state stays out of the cultural school. The states responsibility is to collect and re-distribute money to the cultural schools and allow facilities to be shared.... which they do very well.

Let there be per person funding that is to be used on any cultural/racial/ethic education/activity. No strings attached. Allow equal exposure to mass media to prevent one culture from dominating. For example, allow the possibility of even cultures small in numbers to have a radio station.

Practical example: Why can't some of the south western states be Latino states? We are the "United States". They would not need to break away from the United States. Maybe Southern California could be a Latino state. I see no problem with that.

If people coming across the Mexican boarder, is an issue, then it should be a state issue and the Latino state would have a much better attitude of how to handle it. The Federal government should only care if the boarder issue threatened the Union. So far that is not even conceivable.

The US Constitution gives states the right to be very autonomous. A lot more than they are now. All the Latino states should have to do is offer the country assistance when there is a common foe or need. Or cooperate when they trade with other states or countries. The Latino states could have government quite different from other states. As long as people are permitted to come and go as they please the government of the state could be a dictatorship, socialist, communist , democratic or republic. Or any combination that isn't prevented by the US Constitution.

Bob Charles's picture
Bob Charles
I am in search of definitions for "Quality Eduction" and "Great School".

It is sometimes difficult being a White student. They have special needs during a transistion to a minority position.

A white student isn't able to point to a personal ethnicity. They may have no record of where their ancestors came from. Does it real matter what happened with an ancestor 1 to 11 generations ago? Thats 2046 people. The White student is supposed to represent all of them and their actions? And many of them may be the evil "Europeans". Not fair.

So, as a White person, class mates accosiate them with everything bad that happened in the US and even before. Even with Christopher Columbus: an Italian who served an Hispanic queen; who never set foot on US soil; who chopped off hands and spread desease ... 518 years ago!

The other "real" enthic classifications are never presented in a negative way. Their ancestors never did anything wrong in the Zinn history book. If they did, it was a reaction to a "European" catalyt.

It is important, that in our attempts to promote one classification of students, we don't do it at the expense of another.

M. A. Hauck, M.Ed's picture
M. A. Hauck, M.Ed
Life Skills Support Teacher

Those who habitually frame their arguments in support of socio-economic causes along racial and ethnic lines doom themselves, as do those who alight the "blame America first" bandwagon that has become so fashionable in academe. Certainly the biased historical texts of Howard Zinn appease this particular fringe. The truth is, you don't fight bias with reverse bias. You don't fight discrimination, which is part of the true definition of racism, with other forms of discrimination. Likewise, you don't elevate one group at the expense of another. What Bob is promoting is reducing American cultural and political hegemony and exceptionalism in favor of a one-world view that's also fashionable in certain fringes of academe. Egalitarian ideas lead to socialist and communist ideas, two philosophies that are distinctly anti-American, (i.e. anti-freedom and liberty). I prefer that my own children understand that despite its flaws (as no form of government is perfect) a representative republic is still the best form in the world. World history verifies that. Theoretical alternatives can exist in the netherworld of academe where they can be parsed and debated ad nauseam. Yet, it always boils down to the fact that the majority of people want to be free to make their own choices in life and not serve the collective that dictates what and how much they will achieve. That's just part of what makes our system superior to all.

In an academic setting, it's appropriate to discuss all forms. It's not appropriate, however, to advocate one over another. Present both sides of any issue and let the students decide for themselves. I taught at university for ten years and witnessed far too many PhDs using their positions as a bully pulpit for their leftist views.

Alan K. Lipton's picture
Alan K. Lipton
Blog Editor

Question for M.A: In teaching U.S. students about other cultures and those cultures' perspectives in order to present opportunities for choice, how much weight would you give this in the curriculum? And what resources do you think would be the most helpful?

M. A. Hauck, M.Ed's picture
M. A. Hauck, M.Ed
Life Skills Support Teacher

Good question, Alan. The "weight" as you put it, must be decided by the context of the lesson being taught. For example, in a discussion of WW2, you can't discuss the firebombing of Dresden without first discussing the London blitz. The reason I cite this is because teachers with a "blame America first" agenda will condemn the Allied forces for bombing a city without any "real" strategic advantage, since Dresden had no viable wartime industries to dismantle. Yet, the bombing of England beginning in 1940 had no less of a tragic outcome. Innocents died there as well. Some history teachers use the bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima as a pretext to condemn American brutality during WW2. Yet, those same teachers fail to discuss the so-called "Rape of Nanking" in 1937 by the Japanese Imperialist forces as an commensurate example of sheer brutality. Some teachers will discuss the issue of slavery without citing hundreds of years of history pre-dating the New World slave trade. It is disingenuous to paint the United States and white Europeans as the most egregious offenders in the annals of history. Yet, some teachers feel compelled to do so. I know, I have personally witnessed it and I still witness it to this very day. Human history dating back thousands of years reveals various forms of injustice, violence, exploitation, etc. Western civilization is just another in a long line of examples. We are a brutal and warring species and that will never change. Singling out one culture for its historical misdeeds to the exclusion of others is wrong and intellectually dishonest.

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