General Article Racism isn’t just a US problem; to fight it in the UK we need to change how it’s taught in schools

Topic Selected: Racism Book Volume: 376

It’s time to move away from a ‘whitewashed’ curriculum, where black history is omitted or taught only in terms of colonialism and slavery.

By Rachel Cranshaw

The first time she was taught African history as anything other than a sidebar to European adventures, Lavinya Stennett was at university. Reflecting on how little she and her fellow students had been taught about black history at school – usually short references to the American civil rights leader Martin Luther King or the South African anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela – inspired her last year to set up The Black Curriculum, a campaign for black British history to be embedded into the UK curriculum rather than limited to Black History Month (if that). The proposal includes four modules: art history; migration; politics and the legal system; and land and the environment.

“[University] was the first time I had studied African history that incorporated a non-Eurocentric perspective,” she told me, speaking at the end of a lon...

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