Monday, January 31, 2011

Celebrating Diversity: Black History Month

I came across a link I wanted to share while searching for lesson plans to help with teaching diversity to the kids. Now, with our background, my kids know all about diversity, but I want to start by teaching them key figures in history that I was never taught about growing up. You see, where I'm from, the version of history I was taught was never relevant to me, ie. B-O-R-I-N-G.

I remember in high school having to do an assignment where I had to choose a past era in which I'd want to live and write about it. Needless to say, I racked my brain all night only to come up with a very scary, mind-bending answer, which my history teacher (with her love of the Confederacy, no less) had no choice but to respect and go along with: There is no place in history, as an African-American woman, that I'd want to be. You see, plain, frank, and simple, there's really no place for us there where we weren't met with hostility, discrimination, ridicule and other not-so-rosy things.

Even though it would make others so much more comfortable to hear it, I can't truthfully say we've satisfactorily progressed today, even with an African-American Prez in office. However, thanks to the tireless efforts and sacrifice that the people who supported, conducted, pushed for, died for the Civil Rights Movement, we're so much better off than we used to be, and for that, I am grateful.

Having a sense of heritage is very, very, very, very important, as I came to learn when first stepping foot on an HBCU campus full of unfamiliar African-American faces, faces that should have been "home" to me, but instead were strange and foreign- how silly. The least I can do for my kids is ground them with knowledge of the world around them as it pertains to them, give them a sense of belonging, and with that, a sense of pride and confidence that they are not useless or unwanted just because beautiful images of them don't commonly grace the covers of popular magazines, tv ads, visages of doll babies, or more importantly, the pages of HISTORY TEXTS.

Teach your kids this stuff, no matter what race or origin you are. Go beyond the usuals and really explore African-American history. And don't stop there!- the whole world's history has so much exciting stuff to offer if you only look. To do anything less is a great disservice to your kids and THE WORLD, because they will make up the world of the future, insha'Allah, and ignorance has no place anywhere.

Here's a great place to start, a cartoon story telling all about the life and timeline of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I hope you enjoy the journey through history with your child(ren), no matter where it takes you. I know I will.

Other useful links:
A to Z teacherstuff- Themes: MartinLuther King Jr
Education World: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Lesson Plans Page: BlackHistoryMonth

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