"Maybe it was a dream, you know, a very weird, bizarre, vivid, erotic, wet,
detailed dream. Maybe we have malaria."


Is Black/Women’s History Month an Academic Waste?

By: Bobby Finstock on 03/8/07 @ 6:13 am

(Serious blog alert, the funny will return tomorrow…)

Before anyone launches into a response just by the title let me put this discussion into context for you.
The other day in a history class we got into a discussion about the limited time you have to teach American History during an academic year, it is nearly impossible to cover the entire span of American History in that time. Personally I know in my high school we didn’t even make it to WWII before the end of the year came.

In the discussion the point was made that some school districts are now asking people to add more things for black history month and women’s history month into their curriculum. We began to discuss this and there were two main arguments I wanted to go over before seeing what you guys thought.

Argument 1- On one side you have people that feel that it is important to take time to highlight each of these groups in their curriculum. Being that history is written predominantly by white men, minorities often get ignored and marginalized. By setting aside time and teaching something other than the history of white males (with some other people sprinkled in here or there) it allows more students to connect to the subject, they don’t feel left out as a gender/race, and people get some long deserved credit.

Basically it boils down that there is more to Black/Women’s history than Susan B. Anthony, Harriet Tubman, George Washington Carver, and a handful of others that really ever get taught.

Argument 2- While significant contributions by anyone shouldn’t be ignored, when you have a tight time frame things should be kept to the major facts of the formation and growth of this country, which like it or not has been done primarily by white men. Not to short change the contributions of others but because white males have been in power they have been the driving force and major figures up until the last fifty years. (We are not talking about the study of labor but the study of leadership… Don’t go all Marx on me.) It doesn’t make it right but it is the facts and in order to make sure people have the right education we shouldn’t deviate and teach about people of “lessor” importance.

When looking at education this is an important issue, what is the message you want to relay to children? The debate was rather fierce in the class. I personally can see the validity to both side of the coin and I am so glad that I am not going to be a teacher.

So what do you think, is either school of thought right, is it insulting, what are the solutions?

Filed in: Questions Answered

About the author

Bobby Finstock

Finstock is founder of Pointlessbanter.net. He is known for his encyclopedia like knowledge on the life and times of Scott Baio. In the future he hopes to write again under his own name in order to impress the ladies and build his celebrity to the levels of other failed internet writers.

2 Responses to “Is Black/Women’s History Month an Academic Waste?”

  1. Lisa says:

    i’m very glad these questions are being debated in university classes, because they need debate. and they need _informed_ debate–that is, people need to be informed about the history of their country if they are going to make their points and make them effectively. and, if we are going to be informed about the history of our country, we need to keep doing research and teaching the results of our findings. such as? such as the contributions of women and people of color to the FORMATION and GROWTH of our country. because, yes, there have been very very important contributions. but how are we going to find out what those have been if we just assume that the story we have always been told (white men are the only ones that made this country what it is today) is the true and real story? and how are people going to know about the complex history of our country if it keeps being presented old-style? i am very much in favor of a REVISION of how history is written, much more in favor of that than tacking on some lame additions (“okay, kids, we’re taking a special day/week/month to look at some women/immigrants/african americans, because they did some stuff too, just not as important as what our Great White Forefathers did”) to outdated history curricula. and we have to stop presenting history as if there is only one real history, but that probably won’t happen because many students and their parents and administrators can’t deal with having their notions of some kind of absolute, “true” and totalized history–one that can be known and grasped and embraced and wielded as “the truth of what happened”–they can’t deal with having that notion called into question and/or dismantled. it fucks with their world views. but, if you want to generate some real debate and discussion–and yank a few peoples’ chains–try putting that idea out there and see what happens.

  2. Claire says:

    Hmmm…here I was thinking we spent too much time on American history in school. I came to the US when I was in high school, and I remembering graduating & thinking if I had not had the distinct opportunity NOT to be educated largely in the US, I’d never know the rest of the world had HISTORY, too.

© 2007 Pointless Banter - All Rights Reserved || Designed: E.Webscapes || Social Media Consulting: Comedy Central Sound