To the Editor:
The Connecticut shoreline has a racism problem.
At least part of this problem stems from our inability to recognize our white supremacist history and responsibly educate our children. I am a Guilford High School alum (2010) and since graduating, I have found my humanities education lacking.
While at GHS, I was a dedicated humanities student and yet, it took me until this week to learn about the assassination of Fred Hampton, the Kirk-Holden war, the Original 33 of Georgia, and more. It took me until this week to reconfigure my knowledge of Eli Whitney to include his substantial role in expanding slavery. While I understand that not every history class can cover everything, the structural role of white supremacy in this country is fundamental to our history and must be highlighted as such.
Not every English class can teach every book, but my junior year we read far more books written by white authors that used racial slurs (which we then openly discussed in class), than books written by black authors.
To compound matters, my classmates and I were led to believe that our understanding of history and literature was outstanding through meaningless academic awards when it was, in fact, deeply flawed. This reassurance of mastery prevented future growth and is a deficit I am just beginning to make up.
My ignorance is my responsibility, but preventing the ignorance of future Guilford Public School students is our shared responsibility. I ask that Guilford Public Schools and the Board of Education complete an audit of current curricula, K-12, using the Culturally Responsive Curriculum Rubric. From there, our humanities departments must integrate readings and discussion of systemic racism in all content areas by either modifying the existing curricula or taking on new ones, and provide training so teachers are able to handle these issues appropriately.
Emily Breeze, Guilford