For countless years, studious Americans trying to learn about their nation’s past have been stymied and subverted in their efforts to attain an accurate understanding of history, largely because of whitewashing and anti-Black racism. Whether you’re looking to the West or East coasts of this nation or gendering at its northern or southern schools, one consistent pattern is always visible: today’s Americans are being fed a false, whitewashed narrative of history that’s flagrantly anti-Black.
There’s a storm gathering on the horizon of the American education system, however, and a renaissance is about to emerge that will allow U.S. students to flourish like never before.
History is finally becoming unveiled
For most of American history, students were never allowed to develop to their full potential because they were being fed countless lies, usually ones centered around eliminationism and racist narratives. Young Americans have actually been taught in school that slaves were actually paid laborers who were happy to live in the squalid conditions provided for them by their masters. If it wasn’t for one mother’s online complaint, then students in Texas would still be having this patently absurd narrative forced down their throats.
Slavery isn’t the only aspect of American history that’s grossly whitewashed either, of course. The American Civil War stands as perhaps the finest and most pertinent example of an anti-Black tilt to educational discourse in the United States. Countless American students still believe that this nation’s greatest conflict was predominately about “states' rights,” for instance, rather than about the peculiar institution of slavery and the social and political divisions it caused throughout the United States. Just a few years ago, a substantially larger number of Americans actually bought into the states' rights narrative than into the more accurate picture of slavery and racial injustice being the primary cause of strife between the North and South.
This insidious version of American history is heartbreaking, but wholly unsurprising, especially to the innumerable people of color who have been forced to sit through whitewashed versions of their own history that paint over atrocities committed in the name of white supremacy. The United States is largely populated by moral individuals who frequently reject bigotry and white supremacy in their daily lives, but much of that same population is simultaneously blinded and fooled by a white power structure that’s deceiving them about their own history. That could soon be changing, however, as attitudes towards the U.S. education system’s anti-Black tilt are finally beginning to modernize.
There’s a great change coming
The largest change that’s coming to the American education system is a demographic one. In the next few decades, we’ll arrive for the first time in this country’s history at a point where it’s not a white-majority country, but is instead a minority-majority country, where no one demographic is dominating over others. This has sizable implications, for our schools will no longer be predominately packed with White students who’ve received best Texas loans to study there, for instance, though educational and income inequalities will doubtlessly still exist and make it challenging for people of color to get degrees.
Having more students of color in the classroom and having more Black teachers and educators in general will produce a massive cultural shift. While white teachers can still get away with threatening to literally lynch their Black students, the future will be defined by an academic culture far less tolerant of bigotry and motivated racism that endangers the lives of students trying to learn. The history of the United States is essentially the story of slow but ceaseless progress, especially when it comes to the tooth-and-nail fight for rights that Black Americans have been waging forever.
Despite the current status quo in the American education system, where whitewashing history is so normal that it’s grown to become expected, there’s a storm of change coming that’s going to revolutionize how we teach history in this country. Greater access to the internet is enabling more students of color to learn in their free time, for instance, and helping them elucidate the dizzying and often contradictory narratives that textbooks push to white-majority classrooms. Radical anti-Black terrorism, like white faculty members getting off with a slap of the wrists for threatening to hang their Black students to death, will be held more to account soon, too.
The American education system is far from equal, and has plenty of progress yet to make, but there are reasons to be hopeful about the future. It’s growing clearer that a storm is coming that will upend anti-Black racism that’s been so prevalent in American history since this nation’s inception. While the roles people of color played in the settling and building of this nation are frequently ignored today, a Black renaissance that sees the truth behind this country’s past proudly championed will soon take hold.