It's Disgusting Twitter Tells Me More About Black History than School Does | Opinion

We've returned to school in London last week to a much different world than the one we left when lockdown started. Not only because of the pandemic, but because of the protests that denounce racism and affirm the importance of Black lives and Black stories. But the one thing remains the same: our curriculum.

Black students are not really educated about their roots. Even in History syllabus Black History appears without context: after all, there is more to it than Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, and the Civil Rights Movement. Did you know that King Leopold II of Belgium killed 10-15 million Congolese people? I didn't know that until I went on Twitter. It is disgusting that a social media platform is informing my fellow black brothers and sisters more than school does.

School is meant to be an institution for educating children, but, dear teachers and principals, you are doing only half the job.

Growing up as a Black person in the U.K., in nine years of education, all I heard about was World War One and World War Two, the Tudors, and Queen Elizabeth. It's sad how I lack information about my roots compared to what white people know about theirs. And Black History is not just about what was done to us by white people. We have our own stories, histories, literature and art and music. Our history is amazing and beautiful. But how would I know its true beauty when I lack all information about it?

We live in a white-dominated society which means that white people have control of most things compared to Black people. Us Black people are still oppressed and held back by the chains our Black ancestors struggled against. Racism may not be like the 1600s but it is still active in the U.K., even if disguised. People of color, especially my Black brothers and sisters, are oppressed and looked down upon through stereotypical views and prejudice. The U.K. is meant to be a place of opportunity and freedom, which why many Black people emigrated here in the past. But we are still under a generational curse and in the same position.

Dear teachers, I am pleading that you add this to the curriculum, add workshops so students are aware of Black history. And it's crucial to learn now during these times of racial injustice: students need to be informed of the oppression of Black people, so that together we can tackle racism and make a change. Racism is taught, not born. This means that it developed over time. It also means it can be stopped. But how do we do that? Through educating others so they will be informed on it.

I'm proud to be Black

You might say that a few weeks of protests is too soon to change a curriculum that's been in place for years. But you can only say this if you ignore what the protests are about. Racism has been around for centuries longer that this. And Black history has been around for millennia.

My Black has been around since the beginning of time when God created the earth in Genesis. Before segregation between Blacks and Whites. My blackness has been around since the n-word was used in the 1800s to degrade my Black ancestors. Before the lynching of African-Americans in the 19th century by the KKK. My Black has survived and flourished. Even before, we were seen as useless in the eyes of whites. But it meant something. Because we proved them wrong and became something. My Black is hardworking and my ancestors proved it. Duke Ellington the leader of jazz. Madam C.J. Walker, the first female self-made millionaire.

My Black is empowering: I'm proud to be Black. For centuries we were told that black was weak. Now it's stronger than ever. I won't be put down no matter how much they try to crush me. They will not win. Because my Black is winning. My Black will defeat any form of racism committed against me. My Black gives me power because it's my destiny. And my Black is more than beauty standards that I am forced to abide by.

My blackness is human and amazing. And I don't blame you for not grasping my blackness, because it took me a long time as well to recognize and accept the power of my blackness. That was me then but now I don't have any shame in being Black because I'm proud. They may try and silence me and keep me in darkness, but my voice will be heard. They will put down my Black brothers and sisters but together we will arise and stand out. In times of agony, my blackness gives me life. My Black is too powerful to be vanquished.

And so it's from strength, not from weakness, and from the bottom of my heart, that I pleading on behalf of Black students: please add Black History to the curriculum, so we can learn about it and tackle racism in the schools, first. I hope that in the future I will see the real change that activists and advocates such as Martin Luther King, Tupac Shakur, Malcolm X, Nelson Mandela, Harriet Tubman and more would have wanted to achieve through the education system.

Teachers, you can do something, you can make a change in your schools, and you can take action. You have power and authority in school: through your power, you can make a difference in the curriculum. We need to stand together now, so things can be set right for the upcoming generation.

Crystal is a 15-year-old student in London, U.K. She asked to publish this article under her first name alone, to protect her from online bullying.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own.