f

Get in on this viral marvel and start spreading that buzz! Buzzy was made for all up and coming modern publishers & magazines!

Fb. In. Tw. Be.

Prioritizing Ethnic Studies in our education curriculum is an essential step toward decolonizing and rectifying an education system that for too long has refused to serve the needs of people of color.

Next year is the 50th anniversary of the 1968 Third World Liberation Front Strikes, the longest-running student-led strikes in the history of the United States. These strikes, which were begun by working class students of color at San Francisco State University and UC Berkeley,, marked the first time that BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) students demanded an education that actually reflected their own histories–as told from their own perspectives. Before this time, few if any schools offered courses that featured the histories and cultures of BIPOC in the United States. If BIPOC people or histories were mentioned at all, they were usually taught from the perspective of a mainstream, Eurocentric curriculum–meaning that BIPOC were mentioned as an aside, or as marginal characters in a larger historical narrative that centered on white people and their histories. For much of U.S. history, for example, basic knowledge of Greek and Latin was a general admissions requirement at major universitiesa blatant example of racist policies at work in the public education system that explicitly worked to the disadvantage of students of color. Explicitly or implicitly, women and students of color were also barred from entering the university at all.
Related: SEX EDUCATION CENTERS WHITENESS — AND IT’S A PROBLEM

Reclaiming and retelling our stories is the first step toward decolonization--this shouldn’t be forgotten even and especially when we are speaking about fiction.

By Lisa Hofmann-Kuroda
  Recent discussions around cultural appropriation have, for the most part, centered on tangible cultural products: clothing, food, hair, dance, music, language, and visual art are among the most commonly discussed items on the agenda when it comes to cultural appropriation and the way in which it actively harms marginalized communities. However, many people seem to have a harder time drawing the line when it comes to a less tangible form of cultural production: fiction writing. Recently the Guardian ran an article called "Whose Life is it Anyway," which featured a variety of perspectives from creative writers on the topic of cultural appropriation in the realm of fiction. The overwhelming consensus in this article is that there should be no limitations on the imagination when it comes to writing fiction. Fiction writers, the article argues, should be able to write novels and stories from anyone's perspective, regardless of whether the identity of the character whose perspective they are writing from matches their own racial or gender identity, let alone class or ability. This is because, according to the article, one of the main purposes of fiction is to cultivate a sense of empathy for others by imaginatively inhabiting their perspectives--especially those of others whose experiences and identities differ from our own. To insist that we only write fiction from our own perspectives would be to hinder the freedom of expression. And yet, just as in life, not all voices and perspectives are interchangeable, even in the “imaginary” realm of fiction. The imagination is not a disembodied entity separate from the realm of experience–it is continuous with and grows out of it. That is, our imaginations are always conditioned by the kinds of identities and experiences we ourselves have lived. It matters who tells whose story. Good fiction doesn’t depend on distancing ourselves from our our own perspectives and experiences, but on examining them more closely (the dictum “write what you know” applies here). The cultivation of empathy doesn’t depend on imaginatively inhabiting other people’s perspectives, but on listening to their perspectives and stories in the first place.  
Related: THE UNBEARABLE WHITENESS OF TELENOVELAS

You don't have permission to register