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Posted on November 25, 2012 1:14 am
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Yasar Bodur
Yasar Bodur
Reps: 614
Why No White History Month?
It is the month of February again, and I am very excited about the Black History month. As a young African American elementary school teacher, I make sure that I fully take advantage of the Black History month in my lessons with my 5th graders. Yesterday, we were talking about important African American political figures, who made life better for all Americans. During this lesson, one of my students raised her hand and asked why there was no “White History month?” “Were White Americans not as important?” I did not have a good answer to her question. I must be doing something wrong to have a student feel this way. How would you answer this question? Do you think it is problematic to integrate African Americans to all my lessons during February? How can I fix this?
 
     
     
 
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Solution 1
Posted January 27, 2013 1:59 pm

Jennifer Spitko
Jennifer Spitko
Reps: 61
I would answer the student’s questions by explaining that all people are important regardless of their race and giving a brief lesson about the history of Black History Month. It would be important to mention that Black History Month was established at a time when the history and accomplishments of African Americans were not included in history books or in schools’ curriculum. After the Civil Rights movement, American citizens started to recognize that African American history was often neglected and Black History Month was seen as a possible solution to this problem.

I do not necessarily think that it is wrong to incorporate African Americans into all February lessons, but I do think that it is unnecessary if all races are included in your instruction throughout the year. I think that it would be more appropriate to take time in February to have a lesson or discussion about Black History Month and be able to relate it to lessons involving African Americans that have been embedded into your curriculum since the beginning of the school year.
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Brianne Blowers
Brianne Blowers
Reps: 102
I agree that different historical races should be represented throughout the school year. Then the teacher can teach about how black history month came about and they can relate it the lessons that have already been taught.
  Posted on: October 19, 2014 11:32 pm

Kathy Allen
Kathy Allen
Reps: 100
It's important to teach about how other groups of people had been treated in American history and why we have certain events.
  Posted on: February 23, 2018 9:17 pm

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Solution 2
Posted December 7, 2012 9:51 am

Booker Hobbs
Booker Hobbs
Reps: 56
My opening statement to my class: ("Our intentions as teachers is not to overlook any historical contributions made by our fellow Americans, whether black, white, Hispanics and etc. However, there were many Americans who made significant contributions that were not mentioned in the early history books.") We must remember that the majority of our history books mostly speak of white America. I am a baby boomer and all I studied about was how blacks were shipped to America as slaves and how they worked for no pay and saved America an immense amount of money. Also mentioned was how blacks were lynched and were not allowed equality. It appeared that Black America didn’t do anything constructive, productive nor had any sense of accomplishment that helped build America. “We were deemed somewhat as an insignificant or Non-entity group of people. (I do not think that you said anything wrong but we must speak with clarity when speaking to our younger students. This sensitive issue takes special skills and preparation prior to presenting to the students.)
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baQumy
baQumy
Reps: 100
Very well said!
  Posted on: October 15, 2015 4:47 pm

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Solution 3
Posted January 23, 2013 9:00 am

Lelon Jeffers
Lelon Jeffers
Reps: 18
As a white male, my perspective on this issue will be different than other people's perspectives. I do not view "Black History Month" as a racial issue. Rather, I view it as a time to celebrate the accomplishments of the race. The accomplishments of white people are acknowledged 12 months during the year, so a "White History Month" is not necessary. It wasn't until I took a graduate class on multicultural education that I realized nearly everything we teach young students comes from the works and accomplishments of white people. What must it feel like to be an African American student, and be taught that all important things were developed by white people? I believe that Black History month is a wonderful time to celebrate the contributions made by African Americans. I do not believe that every lesson during the month of February must focus on Black History Month. I would explain to the students that Black History Month is not intended to place Black people above other races. Rather, is intended to highlight all of the accomplishments of the race.
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raWubu
raWubu
Reps: 97
I like the concept on how black history month is to show the accomplishments, and struggle the race has came up against. I also agree with you on not every lesson in February should be based on black history month. Just because it is not February does not mean that you cannot embrace black history into lessons.
  Posted on: October 19, 2014 9:42 pm

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Solution 4
Posted December 9, 2012 3:24 pm

Wendie Sikes
Wendie Sikes
Reps: 57
It is difficult for many to understand why we have black history month and why we have scholarships, schools, and pageants just for specific races and the "whites" do not fall in any of those categories. Even though it is black history month I would include some "whites" who helped the African Americans. This way the white students will not feel as though their race is being left out since there is not a "white history" month. This would include them and may even help them to see that all white people did not oppress the African Americans.
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zaSyNu
zaSyNu
Reps: 58
I like this idea of showing how Whites and African-Americans have worked together to achieve something important in history during black history month.
  Posted on: December 8, 2014 3:20 am

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Solution 5
Posted January 31, 2013 8:29 pm

Cynthia Vaughan
Cynthia Vaughan
Reps: 41
While I think it is important to celebrate Black History month, I feel that Africa Americans should be integrated into history lessons throughout the year not just in February. Should students still celebrate Black History Month, absolutely. This can be done by special projects, speakers, etc. If a student asks why there is not white history month, then it would be a great time to discuss how African Americans were repressed for many years and Black History month is a way for all to celebrate their achievements and contributions to the world, plus it also reminds all of us of the trials and tribulations African Americans endured. This is something no one should forget.
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Solution 6
Posted November 30, 2012 1:35 pm

BreAnna Sinclair
BreAnna Sinclair
Reps: 118
Before introducing Black History month to the class, I would begin by leading a discussion about political figures that the students have learned about in school. I would write the figures on the board as the children talk about them. I would then see if the students could determine what the majority of the figures have in common. If the students cannot draw the conclusions on their own, I would point out that the majority of the figures are Caucasion males. I would then explain that most early history textbooks were written from a Caucasion male's point of view, but there have also been some influential African Americans. I would then share that we celebrate Black History month to learn about African Americans that have also impacted America.

I do not believe it is problematic to integrate African Americans into all lessons during February. However, I suggest integrating important historical figures that are of all different races into your lessons throughout the entire school year.
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Solution 7
Posted January 23, 2013 8:42 pm

Shante Thompson
Shante Thompson
Reps: 11
I do not think that you are doing anything wrong. However, I do not think that you should integrate African Americans into all of your lessons just during the month of February. I am an African American elementary teacher myself and I normally add things of such nature when I am teaching informational writing. Students could complete a research paper. Allow students to have options on who they will research. Provide students with a list of important historical figures who made life easier for African Americans. I would not refrain from speaking about the month and its importance. The first thing that came to my mind when I read the title is that most of what we teach is geared around white historical figures who made America great, so we have a month dedicated to African Americans. However, I do not agree with this fact. I think that we should celebrate African Americans, White Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, etc. throughout our history books everyday.
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Solution 8
Posted December 5, 2012 8:30 pm

Ashley Williams
Ashley Williams
Reps: 118
I don't think you are doing anything wrong. I've heard adults ask this same question. Before starting the topic of black history month I would talk about the why black history month was founded. I would also bring up another month like Native American Heritage month, and include a lot about the hardships they faced. You should note to the students about the treatment that the race endured for many years that made them deserve some recognition. I don't think that it's problematic to integrate African Americans into all of your lessons during February, but you don't have to do it with every single lesson. In some parts of different lessons yes but constantly riddling the students with your integrations may cause some students to feel like their race is being neglected.
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Solution 9
Posted December 8, 2012 10:06 pm

Kristine Morris
Kristine Morris
Reps: 153
The student would need to understand that african americans were not in power until a certain era. Famous white individuals have been recognized since history has been documented. African americans started to recognition when certain individuals began to take a stand and realize that they were people to and had the right as much as others. What would help this student and others is research back before african americans are rights just like others. This may help them realize that famous people have been celebrated and maybe just did not realize it.
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Solution 10
Posted February 13, 2013 11:41 am

N Lewis
N Lewis
Reps: 40
I wouldn't implement African Americans into all of my lessons during the month of February. However, I would acknowledge their accomplishments daily with various facts during morning and afternoon announcements. I would also create a book display in the media center to support this particular month. I would explain to the student the origin and purpose of Black History Month and why it is celebrated. I would also explain that we should acknowledge everyone that contributed to the formation of this country, such as Native Americans, Asian Americans, Jewish Americans, Latino-Americans, etc. The history books used in schools are dominated by the accomplishments of White Americans. It is important to acknowledge the history and people that supported the civil rights of all individuals, especially during Black History Month.
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Solution 11
Posted February 18, 2013 4:28 pm

Arria Simpson
Arria Simpson
Reps: 25
I do not think that you have done anything wrong. It can be confusing for students to understand the complexity of the issues that have led up to the need for Black History Month. I think that it is important to explain to your students that minority groups are often overlooked for their accomplishments of gaining equal rights. This applies for many groups of people, including women, religious groups, and other racial minority groups. There is no simple explanation as to why there is Black History Month and not an entire month dedicated to other minorities, but there are various times throughout the year that some these minority groups are recognized. I would be sure to explain that Black History Month is the result of many individuals'struggles, Black and White, and it helps to signify how far our country has come each year.
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Solution 12
Posted January 22, 2014 10:39 pm

Audrey Hobbs
Audrey Hobbs
Reps: 29
While I do not think that you are in the wrong for celebrating and emphasizing African American successes during Black History month, I do believe that you should be integrating the successes of other cultures throughout the school year as well. I have often wondered why we, as a society, selectively discriminate in this manner. At my school, we do not celebrate a Hispanic History month, Asian History month, Caucasian History month, etc. This can leave many students, especially at schools with great diversity, feeling left out and unspecial. I strongly feel that it is important to celebrate each culture's successes, struggles, and accomplishments. That being said, you could have explained to the student that, while Caucasian accomplishments were important, African American accomplishments were highly significant and revolutionary to the era. They represented the freedom and equality that African Americans were finally gaining in society. Even today, we should be celebrating the significance of our African American president in the scheme of history. We, as a nation, have made much progress. It is important for our students to recognize this as well.
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Solution 13
Posted January 26, 2014 7:35 pm

Monique Lester
Monique Lester
Reps: 37
I completely understand why the student asked this question. If you are teaching all African American history during the month of February, it can seem overwhelming or insensitive to someone who is not African American. Students have to learn how to appreciate and respect each others' backgrounds, and teachers should teach and model this behavior throughout the year otherwise the curriculum is going to seem bias. A great way to teach students to respect and appreciate the backgrounds of cultures is to give them research assignments and have them present the information to the class and even take on active roles such as role playing and etc. You can also explain to both students and parents about the significance and importance of Black History Month. However the most important solution is to always incorporate other backgrounds into your lessons all year long.
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raWubu
raWubu
Reps: 97
I love the idea of having black history all year long and not just February. Also the research papers are such a great idea. I want my students to educate themselves all year around about EVERY culture so we can minimize
"hate."
  Posted on: October 19, 2014 9:44 pm

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Solution 14
Posted January 28, 2014 2:21 am

Erin Warren
Erin Warren
Reps: 142
I do not feel that what you have taught is wrong. I would explain some of the obstacles that African Americans have had to overcome, and maybe allow the students to research and see what people of other races have the same issues. Have them brainstorm some famous Caucasian people they know and see what obstacles they have had to overcome and compare the two. THis way you can incorporate both and compare to others. I also think that this would be a great way to incorporate all of the races and cultures of each student in your class. I think it is great to integrate African Americans into some of your lessons in February. You may not have to complete it in ALL lessons, especially if it isn't part of your curriculum.
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Solution 15
Posted January 29, 2014 2:00 am

Brian Martin
Brian Martin
Reps: 42
First of all, I have to point out how valuable I find things like Black History Month are to me as a parent. I am thankful that my own children have not been exposed to the high doses of backwards thinking that I was. I remember hearing ugly, racist rhetoric in my elementary school from other students, at the homes of relatives, and in other situations. Of course, I could not shelter my kids forever. Eventually, they were exposed to somebody saying awful things about people based on their skin color or heritage. I did my best to help my young children make sense of the world that we live in and how far we have come. Since that time, my children have moved up to 2nd and 4th grade. Their teachers have led brilliant lessons and discussions about segregation, slavery, and the jaded history of race relations in the United States. I am thankful that their teachers have been so skilled in helping my children understand. Black history month is an important aspect of the process. It is important that all students realize the amazing contributions of African Americans in the context of our struggles as to be a colorblind society and for the merit of the individual accomplishments. Our identity is forever tied with our history, and it is important to learn about it.
So why not have “white history month?” I am sure that question comes from sincere curiosity in some and is steeped in resentment for others. I always respond to the question. Every month is black history month and white history month. However, I think February gives us a chance to not only celebrate the accomplishment of our fellow citizens, but we can also reflect on our progress as a nation. Celebrating Black History Month is celebrating how, in the face of unimaginable atrocities, we have become one unified people. We do not celebrate black history month because white history is unimportant. We celebrate because black history is a part of all of our history.
I have found integrating Black History Month into the curriculum to be easy. I will give an example. I am a math teacher and we are always looking for a hook to connect students to the mathematics. I love to tie problems in with real data. Our city was the home of one of the first African American female gold medalist. When I make a word problem based on her data, I can give some wonderful background information to go with it. I have found that local history is a great springboard to including other information in the lessons.
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Solution 16
Posted January 31, 2014 8:45 pm

Ron Boyd
Ron Boyd
Reps: 21
First, I don't think the teacher has done anything wrong. I would explain to the student that Black History Month was developed to shine the spotlight on African Americans who have made significant contributions to American society and culture. Historically African Americans have been left out of the history books. This month was never intended to take away from the accomplishments of any other persons. I would also advise the teacher to highlight the contributions of all races and genders during the appropriate units of curriculum. February should not be the only month where African Americans are discussed.
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Solution 17
Posted January 31, 2014 10:36 pm

Nicka Grimes
Nicka Grimes
Reps: 17
I do not believe that you are doing anything wrong to have a student feel this way. I believe that if a student feels this way then you must be doing something right because you're causing them to think. I would answer this question by relaying to my student that all cultures are very important and while we do incorporate various cultures into our lessons, we have a Black History month to specifically focus on the things that African Americans have endured throughout the centuries. While discussing these historical events, I'd also incorporate Latin Americans, Native Americans, Asians and other cultures as well; thus, giving the student multiple viewpoints into our world's history.
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Solution 18
Posted February 19, 2014 11:02 pm

Will Melton
Will Melton
Reps: 58
First of all, let me congratulate you for working to integrate as much Black History into your 5th grade class as you can - I think it is wonderful to recognize those who have overcome injustice and have had great success to improve the world around them no matter what race they are. I do not think that you have done anything wrong to have a student ask a question like they did - students are curious and will ask whatever pops in their minds without realizing the potential impacts it may have on others around them including their teacher. I do not think it is problematic to integrate African Americans into all of your lessons during February, I think it is the perfect way to allow the students to celebrate great people who have gone on before them.

Solutions: I think one way to potentially answer this student's question is to begin with an explanation of why Black History Month exists and there are a variety of reasons behind it, but giving simple facts can help students make more sense of what could be a purely curious or divisive question. A question of this could be a bit jarring and off-putting to hear in class especially considering all of the work you are doing to create lessons on African Americans who have done great things, the teacher could respond to the student with a question in kind: If we were to have a White History Month we would need to celebrate it in a similar fashion, we would need to find white people who overcame great injustices to their race and were not treated as equals by their government for many years and found ways to overcome the injustice of a country that enslaved their race for hundreds of years. Students could then research this and perhaps find that if we were to celebrate White History month, given these connotations, it might be difficult to find a comparable level of both injustice and accomplishment unless of course those white people were Jews in concentration camps under the reign of Nazi Germany (which is not really American History per se).
Another important issue to consider is that we should also look at other races and determine how we can celebrate Native Americans, Latin Americans, Asian Americans and those who have migrated to the US and see it as a place of opportunity. A celebration of Black History month actually opens us up to greater questions of where we have come from as an entire country. We have come a long way, a country that once brought people of a different race here unwillingly to serve as slaves, now has long waiting lists of people who want to come here to enjoy some of the great benefits and opportunities that are available only in America. This great social experiment with government by the people and for the people has actually created one of the most racially diverse countries in the world. Despite negative treatment of various races in the past, Black History Month is a celebration of what we can look forward to in the future, as those of all races come to the United States to improve their place in life and look for new opportunities for their families.
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Solution 19
Posted January 27, 2014 1:06 am

ZuRyPa
ZuRyPa
Reps: 36
I think this is confusing to our children today because they were not alive when blacks and whites were segregated and they aren't aware of the struggles African Americans went through in America including the journey from slavery to freedom to equality. It is understandable that our students who grow up without racism and prejudice might see this celebration of a black history month as strange, as if it were somehow down playing the role that white people have played in history. That is why they should be taught that the integration of black history month was a huge milestone for African Americans because prior to it, African Americans were not honored or emphasized in our history lessons. As our children grow in this free world without the racism and prejudices in the past is important to keep this month because we must teach them about the mistakes of the past and what has brought us to where we are today.
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Solution 20
Posted January 30, 2013 2:12 pm

Ashley Crosby
Ashley Crosby
Reps: 23
I do not think you are doing anything wrong by integrating African Americans into all of your lessons in February. I do think that you should make sure that you have opened up with political leaders of all races and what they have done. I also think it is important to talk about the hardships that not only African Americans faced, but Native Americans and Hispanics also.
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Johnnie Skelton
Johnnie Skelton
Reps: 104
I feel much the same way about Black History Month that I do about Women’s History Month. For centuries, every month was White Male History Month. The accomplishments of women and minority groups were left unrecognized. Artists who were equally as talented as their white male counterparts were deliberately excluded from galleries and ignored in the art world. Frequently, the artwork of women was attributed to their male teachers (for example, Rodin and Camille Caudel) and even to their male students (for example, Hans Coper and Lucie Rie). I am open with my older (4th and 5th grade) students about these realities, and, so far, they have been receptive and understanding.
However, the key to a truly inclusive curriculum requires that we are careful not to allow Black History Month or any other celebration of culture to become a unit or theme. Rather, it should be incorporated into the curriculum year-round. If we only teach about the contributions of African Americans during February, we degrade their value throughout the rest of the year. Black History Month should not be a substitute for a curriculum which treats all historic figures (even those who are lesser known due to minority status) equally. If we create a more culturally inclusive curriculum which helps students to understand why, for example, most of the world’s most famous painters are white men, then having a month which emphasizes an oppressed group will not seem so strange to our students.
  Posted on: January 30, 2013 5:12 pm

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Solution 21
Posted December 7, 2012 11:22 am

Sarah Hogan Johnson
Sarah Hogan Johnson
Reps: 163
I would answer this question by explaining that African Americans have been overlooked in history. This culture hasn't always gotten the same recognition that white Americans have received. Black history should not be celebrated in one month. It should be celebrated every month. You may want to implement other cultures into your curriculum so Black History month doesn't feel so out of the ordinary. For example, You could celebrate a different culture each month. You could focus on how different cultures have helped shape our country. You could also discuss other cultures from around the world and how they've impacted their country and ours. I don't think it is problematic to integrate African Americans into your lessons. However, it would also be beneficial to integrate other cultures throughout the year.
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Solution 22
Posted December 7, 2012 9:09 pm

Art Buff
Art Buff
Reps: 111
There is no problem with what you are doing. These are fifth grade students and sometimes students in general miss the point of a lecture. To be honest there is more emphasis on skin color when it comes to minority contributions. But when you think about it no one ever said The Wright Brothers; the two white/Caucasian men that invented the airplane. Don't change your lessons just explain that each culture is important.
As to White History Month? As a history major this quote has been repeated to me a lot:"History is written by the victors, not the conquered". Not to say that anyone is conquered but that whites have held the majority of important matters and dates in history, and we don't put much emphasis on the fact that they were white like we do for Black History Month.
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Solution 23
Posted December 7, 2012 9:56 pm

Jessica Jacobs Graham
Jessica Jacobs Graham
Reps: 116
I do not think that we should focus so much on historical figures of a particular race one at a time. I think that this concept promotes separation of races. Therefore, I think that you should integrate historical figures of all races. Also, do you have an entire month devoted to teaching about important Hispanic American figures? What about Asian American? Native American? Our country is not just black or white, and we should be giving our students an education of all of the important people that have shaped the country and the world that they live in, not just those that are white or black.
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Solution 24
Posted December 8, 2012 2:15 pm

areli saucedo
areli saucedo
Reps: 119
This is a question that comes up numerous of times. Why is there no White History Month or even Hispanic Month? How does a teacher approach this question without causing any racial disturbances?
I would answer this question by telling the student how white people have also contributed to the growth of America. I would tell her that I am not sure why there is not a White History Month, but it should definitely be added in the schools. Not only should this be added, but also, Hispanic Month. Also I do believe that ONLY integrating African Americans in your lesson plans is a problem because this creates a competence dilemma. Instead, you should integrate Whites who helped these African Americans in their social cause.
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Solution 25
Posted January 26, 2013 1:39 pm

Robert Batchelor
Robert Batchelor
Reps: 36
I do not think you are doing anything wrong at all. This is just one of those questions that young kids have and aren't afraid to mention. There was a time in our history as a nation where African American history was not taught with an equal level of importance as other races. Explain to her that all races have made important contributions to society, but Black History month gives us a chance to focus or highlight that specific group of people. I would not make all my lessons during February focus on African Americans just as I would not make all lessons during other months of the NOT about African Americans.
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Solution 26
Posted January 26, 2013 11:31 pm

Lori Lancaster
Lori Lancaster
Reps: 38
I can see how black and white students might be confused by the idea of using one month to study the contributions of African Americans. I think that important contributions of all Americans should be recognized throughout the year. You can look to the civics portion of your social studies curriculum to help you do this. In fifth grade, we study the Bill of Rights and the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments. In particular, we talk about due process of law and how each and every one of us deserve the same amount of recognition and respect.

Another strategy would be to show how many white Americans felt that race should not be an issue long before the Civil Rights Movement called for equality. You could discuss the roles of white and black abolitionists before and during the Civil War. You could talk about the role of white and black people in the Civil Rights Movement. If you concentrate on Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, he talks about white and black children joining hands.

The inclusion of all colors (white, black, yellow, red) during February should not be viewed as an attempt to minimize the contributions of African Americans, but an opportunity to show our children that everyone is important.
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Solution 27
Posted February 1, 2013 6:02 pm

Terry Sanford
Terry Sanford
Reps: 41
You are not doing anything wrong. I can understand why the student would feel the need to ask this question when the emphasis is on African Americans during the month of February. I would explain that African Americans, as well as, other ethnicities accomplishments have been left out of the history books until fairly recently, and the federal government chose February to celebrate the African Americans accomplishments. It is also fair to point out that a majority of our history is taught about white adult males throughout the school year. I would incorporate African Americans, Indians, Asians, and everyone else who impacted our history, throughout my lessons during the whole year and not just during the month of February or Women's History month.
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Solution 28
Posted January 21, 2014 2:01 am

Stephen Farkas
Stephen Farkas
Reps: 36
I would explain to the student the rationale behind incorporating black history month into the curriculum. Because African Americans were excluded from political office and denied entry to Universities for so long, they aren't represented proportionally in history books. Because the rest of the months are mainly white history months, having one month to focus on African American achievers helps to give students an understanding of what led to the current social situation of African Americans. I don't think that it is problematic to incorporate African Americans into your lessons. Every American war has involved African Americans to some degree. Every historical period also has notable African Americans that can be discussed. You should also incorporate African American history into your lessons year round. It is important that students learn about all sides of the past so that they can better understand the present.
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Solution 29
Posted January 23, 2014 12:32 pm

Brad Cowart
Brad Cowart
Reps: 38
Because a student asks this doesn’t mean you are doing anything wrong. I don’t have a good answer for her question either. Part of the answer is tied to the concept of affirmative action, where we try to compensate for past injustices by taking calculated actions to advance one particular group. I don’t think it’s problematic for you to integrate African Americans into your lessons during Feb. I think the best answer is for us to recognize great Americans throughout the entire year and not even notice if they are African American or white but just great Americans. This fix may go beyond a 5th grade classroom, so in the mean time I would continue to integrate great African Americans in the Feb lessons if it’s something you enjoy.
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Solution 30
Posted January 26, 2014 7:47 pm

Alaina Hughey
Alaina Hughey
Reps: 35
I wouldn’t know how to answer the student’s question. I don’t think you did anything wrong. Many children do not understand the purpose of Black History month and many do not realize that there are famous/important African Americans. I feel that instead of limiting the integration of African Americans into lessons only during Black History month, lessons throughout the school year could incorporate African Americans. My middle school is in the process of becoming an IB (International Baccalaureate) school. IB lessons incorporate culture and diversity around the world. This allows teachers to incorporate different cultures from around the world into their lessons on a daily basis.
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Solution 31
Posted January 29, 2014 2:00 am

Brian Martin
Brian Martin
Reps: 42
First of all, I have to point out how valuable I find things like Black History Month are to me as a parent. I am thankful that my own children have not been exposed to the high doses of backwards thinking that I was. I remember hearing ugly, racist rhetoric in my elementary school from other students, at the homes of relatives, and in other situations. Of course, I could not shelter my kids forever. Eventually, they were exposed to somebody saying awful things about people based on their skin color or heritage. I did my best to help my young children make sense of the world that we live in and how far we have come. Since that time, my children have moved up to 2nd and 4th grade. Their teachers have led brilliant lessons and discussions about segregation, slavery, and the jaded history of race relations in the United States. I am thankful that their teachers have been so skilled in helping my children understand. Black history month is an important aspect of the process. It is important that all students realize the amazing contributions of African Americans in the context of our struggles as to be a colorblind society and for the merit of the individual accomplishments. Our identity is forever tied with our history, and it is important to learn about it.
So why not have “white history month?” I am sure that question comes from sincere curiosity in some and is steeped in resentment for others. I always respond to the question. Every month is black history month and white history month. However, I think February gives us a chance to not only celebrate the accomplishment of our fellow citizens, but we can also reflect on our progress as a nation. Celebrating Black History Month is celebrating how, in the face of unimaginable atrocities, we have become one unified people. We do not celebrate black history month because white history is unimportant. We celebrate because black history is a part of all of our history.
I have found integrating Black History Month into the curriculum to be easy. I will give an example. I am a math teacher and we are always looking for a hook to connect students to the mathematics. I love to tie problems in with real data. Our city was the home of one of the first African American female gold medalist. When I make a word problem based on her data, I can give some wonderful background information to go with it. I have found that local history is a great springboard to including other information in the lessons.
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Solution 32
Posted January 30, 2014 10:01 pm

Shelly Butler
Shelly Butler
Reps: 37
In my opinion, you are not doing anything wrong. This is an issue that has been brought up numerous times before. First, I would talk about the importance of black history month and why we celebrate it. It is important to tell our students that African Americans were repressed. This is the month to celebrate their achievements. On the other hand I do believe that we should teach our students about people of all races that have had an impact on our lives. As teachers it is important that we make sure they fully understand the importance of black history month.
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Solution 33
Posted January 30, 2014 11:32 pm

Jonathan Olivarez
Jonathan Olivarez
Reps: 36
To answer the question the student asked, I would say that the reason we have black history month is because until recently people of other races have been overlooked in their importance of contributions to this country. I would then say that we have celebrated white Americans throughout the year and will continue to do so. I would make sure that all races are represented well throughout the year so that the emphasis of black history month can be on the adversity that African Americans triumphed in the United States.
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Solution 34
Posted January 31, 2014 8:58 pm

Taquavia Jones
Taquavia Jones
Reps: 35
There is absolutely nothing wrong with integrating African Americans in all of your lessons during February. As many have stated, I would probably start by explaining how Black History Month came about. However, throughout the year, I would try to observe all races and their accomplishments so it would not appear that one race is favored over the others. I would also incorporate Caucasians who have helped African Americans, so the African American students will not walk away feeling like everyone of that race held the same beliefs. It is a touchy subject and can be hard to grasp by kids at that age. As I said, I would just try to make all races and cultures feel equal throughout the year.
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Solution 35
Posted January 31, 2014 9:32 pm

Ethan Burke
Ethan Burke
Reps: 39
This is a sensitive issue and I would be very careful in responding just not to offend anyone. First, I would address the fact that there are important people of all races in history. I think that you could then go on to explain why Black History month was started and by doing so, this would help all of the students understand the emphasis that is being placed on important African American figures. After Black History month concludes, and for further lessons, I would suggest integrating all races in lessons and not just for a particular month. I think that it is important that students know that people of all races and ethnicities had a role in creating the United States, as well as other countries around the world, into what it is today. I am getting to the opinion that it should not take a special month to highlight people, not matter their race, if they made life better for all Americans they should be taught in schools.
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Solution 36
Posted January 19, 2015 7:59 pm

Selena Robbins
Selena Robbins
Reps: 24
This question is timely for me right now as I am about to begin an entire Civil Rights unit in my language arts class. How I plan to approach this situation is to preface how many people of different races have been discriminated against in history. In fact, part of my Civil Rights unit focuses on Japanese Americans and Hispanics. However, in the mid-1900s, there was a great movement that brought civil rights to a huge portion of our population--the Civil Rights Movement. As several folks before me have stated, I don't necessarily view the Civil Rights Movement as a race "thing." It's more of a human issue for me. There were several people who were instrumental in bringing some very important changes to our country's laws and way of thinking and that's what I hope my students get out of Black History Month.
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Solution 37
Posted January 20, 2015 2:19 am

Kristine Morris
Kristine Morris
Reps: 153
I would mention to the student that this is a good question. I will help them recall the major changes in our nation that came from these specific individuals, just you, to help them understand why we celebrate them. Then, I will mention to them that beyond this month recall all the historic people we have discussed and remember their nationality. Throughout history, we have discussed many individuals that are of the "White American" decent. I know that in February we do a lot of projects to present the remarkable accomplishments these African Americans have acquired. Therefore, as a teacher, you may be able to possibly do other projects with famous White Americans to help display their accomplishments.
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Solution 38
Posted January 21, 2015 1:56 pm

Pamela McBride
Pamela McBride
Reps: 87
As a teacher, I will make sure that all of my students understands that there are famous people in all races. However, the month of February is the designated month to discuss the history of African Americans. Also, I would research and explain to students that African Americans had people of other races to assist them and supported them. No, I don't feel as if it is wrong to integrate African Americans to the lessons during February because that is the time when African Americans really learn about their cultures. Many modern day text books don't incorporate African American heroes. During other months make sure that you teach with the same motivation and excitement when discussing other races.
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Solution 39
Posted January 25, 2015 2:06 am

Kris Peebles
Kris Peebles
Reps: 58
This can serve as a major eye-opener as a 5th grader is asking such a thought-provoking question. It raises a good point well above the elementary school level--that different races are represented in different ways. For example, Black History month mainly focuses on the major accomplishments of African Americans throughout history. Columbus Day mainly focuses on the time when white people were introduced to the Americas. Cinco de Mayo celebrates the victory of The Battle of Puebla. Many universities have specific times when they celebrate the diversities of many cultures.

I think that the best thing to do for this situation would be to inform the student(and the entire class)that Black History month is only one example of a way in which certain cultural groups get recognized. You could even relate this idea to the student having her birthday. This is the day in which everyone recognizes her importance to the world. This can then be magnified to the global scale.
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Solution 40
Posted January 25, 2015 10:16 pm

Lara Komanecky
Lara Komanecky
Reps: 37
I think this problem is solved by doing a lesson on the history of Black History Month. It is important to explain to students that African Americans have been historically under-represented when it comes to how we teach American history and what we teach. I think this also provides an opportunity for students to think critically about what they've learned throughout the year and consider why they think Black History Month exists.
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Solution 41
Posted January 25, 2015 11:09 pm

ebyHyp
ebyHyp
Reps: 38
Black history month is celebrated to remember important people and the events that occurred in the historic African movements. I do not believe that integration of African Americans in all lessons is essential during the month of February. Instead, incorporation of the contribution of African Americans and other cultures should be integrated when appropriate in the lessons. Mentioning influences of different cultures when suitable adds more value to the lessons and avoids bias towards one culture.
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Solution 42
Posted January 26, 2015 4:05 pm

qeDyRe
qeDyRe
Reps: 44
There has long been debate about the absence of a “White History Month” ever since the establishment of “Black History Month” in 1976. First, I think it is important to understand the rationale behind the creation of “Black History Month”. The idea behind “Negro History Week” (1926), later to be expanded to “Black History Month,” was established to bring to light the importance of African American contributions to the country that were thought to be neglected in public schools. That negligence at the time and even now is said to assist in keeping blacks a permanent underclass in society. There are also those who would argue that there is no “White History Month” because every month is “White History Month” and creating a special time for emphasis on black history was necessary in order to help maintain some equality.
Given the political, social, and economic standing of the United States in both 1926 and 1976, I can understand the necessity to integrate black history at that time. However, in today’s world, I find it problematic and here is why. History is history. The past is the past. There is nothing any single person can do to change it and in education today, there is nothing hidden. The playing field is as level as it ever has been when it comes to public education and no one in a public school today is trying to hide the accomplishments of black people. Whereas history in schools may have been skewed to hide black contributions, in the early and mid 20th century, it certainly is not so now. With that being said I can’t help but believe that too much emphasis placed on black history as opposed to just history can certainly cause a division among ethnic groups. As I said before, history is history so why place an emphasis on any single race of people? Here is another question, do you think it’s possible that “Black History Month” has become twisted into the political message that says black people are still an underclass or do you believe that it still holds true as a celebration of black contributions to a greater good? I think it is important for you to understand what “Black History Month” truly is to you that way you might be able to better answer your student’s question.
Addressing the question of your student, not to answer it, but the reasoning behind the question is quite important. I would be curious to know the ethnicity of the student though it’s not relevant to my idea about the question itself. I find that question quite encouraging. It seems this student has perhaps failed to place a separation between black and white, at least until now. To this student history is history. Isn't that the goal for our children to look past racial lines and understand that people are just people? It seems as though the presentation of “Black History Month” has now potentially created a racial divide in the student that was not previously in her. If that be the case, it certainly isn’t isolated to this one student and if it is true then “Black History Month” has done the exact opposite of its original intent. Also, given the monumental changes in the overall feelings of society about equality, does the mere existence of “Black History Month” suggest that black people are in need of special recognition simply because they are black and somehow, because of that fact, fall short and need a “boost” that other races don’t?
Now here are some answers to your questions. No, you are not doing anything wrong by integrating the accomplishments of African Americans into your lessons. As matter of fact, they are a part of history and have helped to shape this country. However, if you are over emphasizing those aspects of history over others on the basis of race, then you are doing something wrong. History is history just like 2 equals 2. As for the student’s question, answer it. For that you have to know the history. When was “Black History Month” created and why was it created. It was a necessity at the time, some would argue today as well, to help keep black people from becoming a permanent underclass by being under represented in this school’s history lessons. The answer to her question can be made with no political debate when you stick to the historical facts of the time in which “Black History Month” was established.
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Solution 43
Posted January 27, 2015 6:29 pm

Kelly Jackson
Kelly Jackson
Reps: 103
All students need to understand that all achievements that help change the world are important, regardless of race. Students need a history lesson in order to understand why Black History Month exist. I would also explain that races used to be separate and were not allowed to share the same resources, such as public bathroom. Students are not going to understand segregation because they have never been taught it before. They need to know about the historical discrimination of blacks in America. Maybe if students understand the discrimination that black people were once subjected to they might understand that need for Black History Month. I would still implement black history into lessons but it would not be the center of every lesson for a month because no other race would receive that attention for a lesson.
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Solution 44
Posted January 27, 2015 10:56 pm

Alma Sakonjic
Alma Sakonjic
Reps: 38
Answering any question about race, race relations, or race issues can be daunting on a teacher. Celebrating months where contributions by African Americans or Hispanic Americans or LGBT communities should be implemented, in my opinion. But, as the above scenario presents itself, what can I do about addressing the issue about a lack of White History month? How do I explain this to the students? Well, I would start by presenting them with factual information regarding implementation of various awareness months. Following this, I would present factual information by referencing to standards that we’re learning about how many of the standards are referencing to white Americans. Is this White history? Or is it American History? Then, I would ask my students to discuss this. I guess, to me, this is one of those teachable moments where you “feel” your way through the atmosphere of it. You listen to what the students are asking and what they think about it. Two years ago I was teaching U.S. History to a class that consisted only of African American students. I was very intimidated by this situation I was facing. I asked myself many questions. How do they feel about a white person (a European, nonetheless) teaching them their history? How will they perceive it? Will they feel that I am adequate in addressing their curiosities and questions about race relations? I had a lot of questions of myself and of my students. I took the time to ask them at the start of the school year. I sent a president where they understood that there was an open forum for any questions. I had to feel my way through the situation. Being honest with the students goes a long way. Let them know that you don’t always have all the answers to such controversial topics. Race relations are a sensitive issue. That’s how I would approach this type of scenario. I would integrate African American history (and all other histories) from the onset of the school year. This way, students are exposed and conditioned to understand that the histories of the various races in America are intertwined from earliest of its times.
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Solution 45
Posted January 28, 2015 11:13 pm

qeRuNy
qeRuNy
Reps: 40
I would explain to my 2nd graders, that we have one special month to show how African Americans have made life better for all Americans. I would tell them that we have certain holidays throughout the year that we celebrate different white Americans, but February is the time to celebrate African Americans. I wouldn't say that it would be problematic to integrate African Americans into all lessons, but I do think that if students are asking, an explanation should be given.
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Solution 46
Posted January 28, 2015 11:22 pm

qyzeha
qyzeha
Reps: 105
I would start off the month of February explaining to your students why we celebrate Black History Month. I would explain at the beginning of the month that each lesson they will have the chance to learn about an African American that had an important part in our history. I would also make sure to discuss people of other races and their accomplishments that go along with the lessons you are teaching.
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Solution 47
Posted January 29, 2015 12:51 am

Pamela McBride
Pamela McBride
Reps: 87
I don't feel as if it is a problem because the Social Studies books do not offer a lot of information about African Americans. However, make sure that you explain this to the students in your classroom at the beginning of black history month. Also make them understand that there are more ethnic groups than whites and African Americans. It is not the teacher who made the rule to have a black history month. There are also not a month for Asians, Hispanic, etc.
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Solution 48
Posted January 29, 2015 12:59 am

Pamela McBride
Pamela McBride
Reps: 87
I feel as if teachers should try to incorporate information about other cultures into the lesson. It is a way in which other ethic groups can be acknowledged. Also, explain to students that there are more ethnic groups besides Whites and African Americans. Teachers did not come up with the black history month and let them research how and why black history month began.
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Solution 49
Posted January 29, 2015 8:12 pm

Thomas Layfield
Thomas Layfield
Reps: 35
Any time a teacher is approaching an issue of race in terms of curriculum and the classroom, it can be uncomfortable for the teacher and their students. This can be particularly true if the teacher is of a different race than their students and is afraid of saying the wrong thing or offending their students (I was often terrified I would unknowingly say something offensive when I began my career teaching as a 21-year-old white teacher at a predominantly African-American middle school -- luckily I had a great group of students and after we had a rapport, I got over it). In response to the question "Why is there no white history month?", I don't think there is anything wrong with talking with students about the fact that most textbooks and resources used throughout the year more than adequately cover contributions made by white figures throughout history. I also think it's ok to take time out (and it doesn't have to be in February) to focus on the contributions of African-Americans. The same could be said for focusing on the accomplishments of other underrepresented groups as well. The simplest solution, however, would probably be to make a concerted effort to embed African-American figures throughout the year-long curriculum so the necessity of "Black History Month" lessons is lessened and students are already familiar with the broad range of contributions of people from different backgrounds.
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Solution 50
Posted January 31, 2015 7:31 pm

Brittany Rosa
Brittany Rosa
Reps: 37
This is actually a question I thought when I was in school. I always thought Black History month, along with black only awards, events, etc., just showed more segregation. I think that important African Americans should be integrated into history all year long, just like every other important figure. This will show children that people from all races were important throughout all of history.
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Solution 51
Posted February 1, 2015 1:38 am

Angela Thornton
Angela Thornton
Reps: 41
Perhaps it would be a good idea to discuss Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement beginning around MLK day and allow that to usher you into Black History month. We the current issues of race in national headlines we have to teach our students to value every person. Dr. Seuss said it best when he wrote, "A person's a person no matter how small." In America, we do not place as high a value on human life as we should and students need to understand that even if a person doesn't look or think like you does not make that person inferior or less than you. There is a prevailing ideology rising in our country that if you don't think what I think and you don't believe what I believe then that is hate speech. We need a generation who values each person no matter the race, religion or creed. I think highlighting several key African-American leaders throughout the month is sufficient and then allowing others to come up as you move through teaching throughout the year. I also like the idea of highlighting white, hispanic, Catholic, protestant leaders who were instrumental in furthering the Civil Rights Movement. I think we should be celebrating every race even if you have to bribe your students:-) I offered extra credit points to anyone who brought me a ticket stub from going to see Selma. I don't mind bribing them with extra credit points if I can get them to sit through a movie that might change and/or broaden their perspective.
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Solution 52
Posted February 1, 2015 9:48 pm

Jill Nixon
Jill Nixon
Reps: 39
In this scenario, I recommend providing your students with background knowledge about Black History Month which began as Negro History Week in 1926. February was chosen for Black History Month because of two individual birthdays that are important to the history of African Americans, President Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas. The goal of Negro History Week was to provide historical information about African Americans to school children. The civil rights movement of the 1960s coupled by the negative connotation of the word, Negro, paved the way to Black History Month. It wasn’t until 1976 that we began to celebrate Black History Month as we now celebrate it. Not everyone advocates Black History Month. African American actor Morgan Freedman has been vocal in contesting Black History Month. Instead, he proposes that every month should include teaching the history of all ethnic groups. On that note, other heritages are recognized and celebrated throughout a designated month including Irish-American Heritage Month in March; Jewish American Heritage Month in May; National Hispanic Heritage Month September 15 to October 15; Puerto Rican Heritage Month in November; and Gay and Lesbian Pride Month in June. Without understanding the oppression African Americans have endured throughout our history, our children may not understand the significance of Black History Month. As our nation becomes more and more diverse, eventually, if not even today, we may decide as a nation that White History Month is necessary to allow students opportunity to learn about White Americans who contributed to the history of our nation.

To answer your specific question, I do not believe it is problematic to integrate African Americans to all of your lessons during February; however, if one integrates ALL Americans in their lessons throughout the school year, the celebration of Black History Month may evolve to an actual celebration of recognizable individuals rather than a month of informing students about the contributions of African Americans.
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Solution 53
Posted February 1, 2015 10:48 pm

Alexandra Snider
Alexandra Snider
Reps: 35
I believe that it is necessary to integrate all races into our instruction, regardless of what month it is. I would be sure to explain to the student that Black History month brings special attention to African Americans that substantially contributed to a particular field. Although these historical figures encountered tough barriers, they demonstrated resilience and determination. This is also important for teaching our students to develop positive character.
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Solution 54
Posted February 3, 2015 6:09 pm

Kimberly Griner
Kimberly Griner
Reps: 40
This question goes back to the issue of teachers presenting culturally diverse material and points of view throughout the school year. It is important to incorporate people from all cultures and genders on a regular basis. I think that a lesson on why we celebrate Black History month would be beneficial to help students understand African Americans were treated historically and why we celebrate those accomplishments of famous black Americans who have contributed so much to society. It is also important to point out that all cultures have people who have made important contributions to American culture, and one race is not more important than another. Treat the question with importance and respect and maybe have the students research the topic.
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Solution 55
Posted February 12, 2015 1:50 pm

epujaN
epujaN
Reps: 41
I do not think it is problematic to incorporate African Americans during your lessons during Black History month. As other responses noted, I think that it is important to discuss the history of Black History month and why we began celebrating it, but I also think it is important to explain that many of the people history teaches about are white, and that February encourages teachers to celebrate the victories of African Americans throughout history. I do believe, however, that teachers should celebrate all races and nationalities as they teach throughout the year.
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Solution 56
Posted February 21, 2018 6:33 pm

uJyGep
uJyGep
Reps: 200
I would use this as a great teaching moment- their are many ways to explain why their is only a Black History Month. I would be sensitive when approaching this but its good to make students aware of past discrimination and oppression that exists throughout American history and this month is dedicate to appreciating Black History.
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Solution 57
Posted December 2, 2012 4:19 pm

David Sanders
David Sanders
Reps: 143
I believe our laws prohibit discrimination for race, color , creed,gender or sexual orientation. The current holiday issue is the Christmas holiday where there is no other religious philiosphical holiday. The same is true for racial based holidays, there is no yellow history month either. In a secular society (which is where we teach), I think it best to stay clear of discrimination in it's entirety.
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Solution 58
Posted December 8, 2012 9:34 pm

John Buxton
John Buxton
Reps: 114
I would simply explain the obstacles that African Americans overcame to achieve these things. I would explain that we are not celebrating the achievements alone, but the obstacles that were overcome. that is what makes the achievements great. Other then that, it is an unanswerable question. I have also wondered why a whole month is devoted to African Americans, but no other race of people in America is celebrated. After all, America is a nation of immigrants.
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Solution 59
Posted December 9, 2012 9:00 am

Suzi Hancock
Suzi Hancock
Reps: 134
I think it would be best to explain the significance of Black History Month, but not plan your lessons around it. You could explain how many things are observed by month, and the historical significance of your examples. I believe that explaining the significance of the month, rather than planning your entire month of lessons around the month, could help you avoid issues.
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Pamela McBride
Pamela McBride
Reps: 87
You may have a point when you said not to base your entire lesson on it. I think it will be great to throw information in about other ethnic groups. This will make all students feel as if their culture has been acknowledged.
  Posted on: January 29, 2015 12:53 am

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