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Not Enough Exposure to Race and Gender Class

The Race and Gender in U.S. History class should be recommended more for students to take instead of recommending regular U.S. History or APUSH.

Teenagers don’t understand the difference between ethnicity, race, gender, and other things. Many get these subjects confused and don’t understand how different they are. If students keep getting through traditional U.S. History, which mostly only includes the Founding Fathers and the side of the story from the superior people of America, then students won’t be able to have a good understanding of what exactly minorities experienced. When talking about minorities, I mean the people that aren’t White, straight males.

Yes, the U.S. History class teaches some of the histories of minorities, but it doesn’t teach the whole history. In the U.S. history textbooks, there are only a few pages that talk about minorities. This doesn’t represent everyone in American history.

Ninth-grade English teacher Kristina Johnson says, “Yes, I do feel that history classes are missing information such as minority history and diverse points of view.” Agreeing with her, Suzan Pechinko, U.S. History teacher, AP U.S. History (APUSH) teacher, and Knights of Compassion advisor, explains that the California standards do include “minority history and their points of views; although they could expand on the information.”

When I took the Race and Gender class, I was introduced to a different view of how America was in the past. Growing up, I was taught about how America was the “land of the free” and how it helped save many people. However, I was never taught of certain events that happened- those that negatively impacted minorities.

In the regular U.S. History class, students are limited to what they are being taught and don’t get the full historical perspective, while in the Race and Gender class, students can be taught more in-depth about the history of minorities than the traditional history that we’re used to.

Junior Marlene Vazquez is taking Race and Gender this year; she believes that the class is very important as it gives students a different perspective on American history. When asked if she is being taught everything about America’s history in her class she said, “I think I am because we’re getting to see different points of view … we’re actually going into detail.”

When we start to pick our classes, we always see what is recommended for us to take, and for our junior year history class, we see APUSH and regular U.S. History as the top two choices for us to choose from. In fact, during my sophomore year when I was picking my history class, I didn’t see the option for Race and Gender, it was only regular U.S. History and APUSH. I only learned about the class because I had selected a class that was similar to it, but I couldn’t take it, so I was told about Race and Gender and decided to take it. Last year, when sophomores were choosing their classes, the option for Race and Gender was there, but many didn’t know what the class was about.

Within the first week of my junior year, I realized that most of the students in my class didn’t know what the class was about either and they were only put in Race and Gender since the regular U.S. History classes were already full showing that there isn’t as much exposure to the class, until more recently when more students are starting to learn about it and talk about it.

Exposure to this class is important because, as said previously, we need to learn more about minorities’ history and how everyone faced different experiences. Not only that but there needs to be a better understanding of race, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, etc. because many of us get certain things confused such as race and ethnicity and this can cause misleading information to spread.

The Race and Gender class teaches these subjects and so much more, making it an important class that needs more recognition and it is a better educational option compared to regular U.S. History or APUSH.


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