Education and Black Youth

Just like in the United States, there are educational disparities among black and Asian youth in Britain, and advocates are looking at ways to close the gap. Recently, it became mandatory to teach black history following a review of the national curriculum.

From The Telegraph:

All pupils aged between 11 and 14 will be taught about the slave trade and the British empire when term begins next month to help them understand modern-day issues such as immigration.

The two subjects, aimed at highlighting the influence of ethnic minorities, will join the two world wars and the Holocaust as periods that must form part of the history syllabus.

Schoolchildren will learn about the roles of William Wilberforce, the MP who campaigned for the abolition of slavery, and Olaudah Equiano, a former slave who drew attention to the horrors of the trade after buying his freedom and writing an autobiography.

They will also be taught about the origins of the empire, with one unit looking at rise and fall of the Mughals in India and the arrival of the British. Another is titled "How was it that, by 1900, Britain controlled nearly a quarter of the world?"

Kevin Brennan, the children's minister, said: "Although we may be ashamed to admit it, the slave trade is an integral part of British history. It is inextricably linked to trade, colonisation, industrialisation and the British Empire.

"It is important that children learn about this and its links to wider world history, such as the American civil rights movement - the repercussions of which are still being felt today. That is why the slave trade will join the British Empire, the two world wars and the Holocaust as compulsory parts of the secondary school history curriculum from this September."

Meanwhile, others advocate for "segregated" schools for blacks.

From The Daily Express:

Lee Jasper, who advised former London Mayor Ken Livingstone on equalities, said it was time the black community ran its own schools, with black teachers and black governors.

He said black schools and colleges could prove to be a "beacon of excellence" for the black community.

Mr Jasper said Jewish, Muslim and Hindu communities already had their own schools. And he accused the "liberal community" of dismissing the idea of black schools, while failing to address "institutional racism" within education.

The comments come after a study suggested that black Caribbean students are less likely to be entered for higher-tier science and maths exams because of low teacher expectations...

..."The US has many historically black colleges and universities. They cater for the needs of the African American and they excel. I am not arguing here for a BNP-style 'apartheid education system'. I am talking about black business, parents, schools and our magnificent churches coming together and establishing schools that are open to all and are organised around the behavioural, pastoral, psychological and cultural requirements of black young people growing up in a economic environment that excludes black people."

First, the only thing here is that HBCUs were created at a time when African Americans weren't allowed to attend other schools. Secondly, I am not sure about this argument to racially segregate schools. In the United States, there has been much debate about having schools just for black and Latino boys.

But I am wondering what you think about the state of education for black youth, both in the United States and the UK. Do you think we need to revert to racially segregated schools, and is there a need to have a more culturally relevant curricula?

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