Ethnic study courses inspire students to open their minds


Ethnic study courses inspire students to open their minds

McClatchy Tribune

In a state where Latinos make up the majority, one would think California’s educational system would reflect that. According to the California Department of Education, Latinos in 2012/2013 made up 52.7 percent of students in the state.

However, with the majority of students in California being Latino, the curriculum taught does not reflect the culture and history that these students represent.

After almost two decades of being in school and a lifetime of being Latina, walking into a Chicano ethnic studies class for the first time was surreal and illuminating.

This ethnic studies class fulfilled a graduation requirement, but ethnic studies classes are certainly not the path that all students decide to take to for their requirement. Among all the questions that filled my head in class during the semester was why hadn’t my educational institutions taught me this sooner?

Earlier this year, democrat California Assemblyman Luis Alejo introduced AB 1750 which would require a standardized ethnic studies curriculum in high schools. The bill is completely opposite in the direction of Arizona’s 2010 law which terminated Mexican-American studies curriculum in schools.

Supporters of the Arizona law claimed that Mexican-American studies advocated overthrowing the United States and encouraged animosity against whites.

Ethnic studies does not have a hidden agenda to overthrow whites in the U.S., but rather to educate how groups of people have been oppressed and discriminated against over generations. These classes are taught to critically think about everyday situations that deal with racism, the barriers people of color must overcome and bring awareness to issues that are still currently present.

Teaching ethnic studies at a younger age can help end racism and discrimination in the country by allowing students to become aware of issues not necessarily obvious and what people have gone through and are currently going through.

For college students who haven’t had the opportunity to learn about ethnicity and topics pertaining to it, the ethnic studies department at Sacramento State is an educational forefront that will not just educate students, but inspire them to open their minds to the world they live in.

Wendy Aguilar can be reached at [email protected]