Why we must teach inclusive history

February is African-American history month.  Each year about this time I see notices from various loops about television programs that will be available during the month focusing on the contributions of our people to this great nation.   I thought some about a conversation I had with a Christian African-American friend a few months ago.   She was questioning whether or not she should teach her children our history as it is so tragic in places and can spark so many feelings of resentment and anger against whites.   I’ll share my two cents:

This past week, we celebrated the first time in history that not just one, but two African-American NFL coaches have advanced to the Superbowl.   Since one of them will win, we can also celebrate in advance that this will be the first time that a Black coach brings home “the big one”, so to speak.   This week was also a first for the New York Giants, who promoted a Black man into a team management position, and a first for the Pittsburgh Steelers, who now have a Black head coach.   A few months ago, we watched while, for the first time in history, not one but two African-American astronauts traveled aboard a spaceship.   Having highlighted these accomplishments, I totally concur with Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy when he said that true progress will be made when these celebrations are no longer such significant events, but instead become mundane and even boring.    

There were also moments that should shame us as a nation: in Cushatta, Louisiana, on last month, African-American students were forced to sit at the back of a school bus, even sitting in each others’ laps, while non-blacks sat at the front, often alone in seats.   More recently, a predominately white college not too far away held a MLK party in which attendees wore lots of “bling” (big, gaudy jewelry for the hip-impaired), Afros, and were served fried chicken and malt liquor.

So, when I ponder all of this, it is no wonder to me that millions, if not billions, of dollars are spent each year on educating our children, both formally and informally, to be proud of being Black.  Even the patience of Job could be tested by the barrage of images and actions that paint us as anything but equal and deserving of the same rights, opportunities, and privileges as anybody else who calls America home.   This is not a victim’s mentality; it is a realistic statement from the heart of one who participates in this educational process (see www.blessedheritage.com), and one who is raising the next generation of me to not bow down to racist stereotypes.

So as Christians and African-Americans, should we teach African-American history?  Absolutely.  Not only must we share it with our children, but we must help where we can with teaching it to others.   Similarly, we must learn histories that are not our own.   Is teaching our children their history teaching them to hate?  Absolutely not.  In Deuteronomy 6, God tells the Israelites to pass down their history through generations; He does not tell them to hate Egyptians.   We must educate our children on their history, not as a way of teaching hatred, but as a way of teaching the larger lessons of God’s law–love, forgiveness, and faith.  That same faith brought us through a dark past and into an increasingly bright future.    We must teach them their history in the light of Romans 8:28.    We must also educate others, both formally and informally, in order to put a halt to racism (this is how they overcame Satan: by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony).   Stop using the “N” word as it will never be a compliment.   Treat ourselves as descendants of royalty, because that is what we are.  In fact, Biblical history of 2007 years ago tells us what we all are, regardless of color: head and not the tail, above and never beneath, lenders and not borrowers, blessed in our going in and in our coming out, and more than conquerors.  God bless you today and always.


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8 thoughts on “Why we must teach inclusive history

  1. Wow! What a wonderful post! I have to agree with the Colt's coach, it would be wonderful if we were to the point where we no longer celebrated African American accomplishment because they were just another routine part of life. I have to admit (to my shame), I'm not real familiar with African American history. I grew up in the 70s & 80s in a small town that had very racist roots and only had about 4 or 5 African American kids in the whole highschool, so African American history was not a top priority (unforunately). Luckily, I was raised by my parents to be very nonracist, but my friend who was African American was picked on a lot and it was really sad. Your post has made me think about, I probably should be making it more of a priority to teach more history besides just MLK and Rosa Parks. Since my feelings are very nonracist and so are my kids, I forget my kids are going to be facing this stuff someday and I don't want them to get swayed by some stupid bigot. Thanks for the reminder! Btw… I wrote to tell you I sent the Groundhog Unit by e-mail. I got a little side tracked by your post. : ) If it didn't work for some reason, just write me back and I'll try again.

  2. I wholeheartedly agree with everything in your blog posting. You said it so eloquently, too.

    We're a biracial family here and my DH and I are continually discussing so many of the things you posted about (and more.) We can hope and set our eyes ahead to the day that all families, of all races, discuss such issues in a manner that bolsters oneness not division. How nice it would be if the country was a country of ONE… one People.

    We do what we can to foster this ideal, in our own little world, as change starts small. How glaring the truths are (such as you posted about) that history books talk about the freedom of blacks and the success of the equal rights warriors in the middle of the last century… but news of "olden days and olden ways" still hit the headlines. Such actions continually weight this country down in the sludge of the racial divide.

    As our history lessons have just started to come upon the time of the insurgance of slavery in America, I find that I often rely on my husband to convey his thoughts on the matter as well as overall experiences of his own life. We believe we have an obligation, not only as a homeschooling household of two races but also as a family living in the USA, to speak the truth from both sides, with His Word in place among it all. To go far beyond what my own education spewed as fact, in the small, Anglo-Saxon snippets presented in American history textbooks.

    Anyway, i don't want to rattle on and hijack your blog. LOL Suffice it to say I enjoyed reading your blog entry a lot!!

  3. I always wonder how much emphasis to give on the first Black or the first woman or the first whatever, because we are all people made in the image of God. Do you find it helpful to draw attention in that manner? Or is it a hinderance? I really appreciate reading your perspective on these manners.

    In terms of history, we are currently studying about the underground railroad, and highlighting not only the horrific conditions during that time, but also the people (mostly Christians I would guess) that did what was right in hiding, transporting and caring for the runaways. It reminds me of the risks families took when they brought in and hid the Jewish people from the Nazis. Would our family be so bold? I pray that we would always fear the Lord more than man, white, blue or otherwise. I admit that this study we're doing had nothing to do with what month it is; it is just where we are.

    You might like to read Bill Cosby's speech, and the importance he puts on FAMILY in the Black community. I know this is your heart as well. I'd love to read your blog in response to what he said, if you are interested. Here is <a href="http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/billcosbypoundcakespeech.htm"&gt; the speech.</a> (Hope that link works; if not, cut and paste).

    I am always challenged and edified when I visit you.


  4. I don't have my blog up yet to share with you. I came across your blog through looking at another person's blog. We are using TOG Yr 3 this year and have just finished reading Uncle Tom's Cabin and just watched the video tonight. In the past we read about George Washington Carver (had son write an essay on him as well). African history is awsome. True freedom is in the Lord. Nothing will ever be perfect in this world… but it will be perfect for the saved because they have true freedom. True freedom to share God's perfect love and no one can take that away. Unfortunately, some feel they are saved when their conduct and upbringing tells otherwise.
    <br>Our family is part African, Polish, Hungarian, German, Russian, and who knows what else. (Grin) I have to write that in the "other" category when filling out forms. giggle.. proud of it though. We are all the same in God's eyes, God does not think much of what Man thinks. God has his hand in ALL things. It is important to teach children this. GREAT things are to come.
    <br>I enjoy reading your blog and hope to get mine up at some point to share.

  5. As I sit at my computer with tears in my eyes, I'm forced to look at my feeling about myself, my people group, that have been etched and formed growing up as a black girl in a nearly all white neighborhood. I remember being able to play with the white children, but if it was time to swim, I was never invited to their pools. I remember the sadness. I remember my neighbors moving. I remember new neighbors moving in that look like me, and changing the beautifully manicured neighborhood into one of shame. And then I reflect on my feeling of not being enough and always having to prove that "I'm different". I remember being ashamed of being me. I know very little black history. I don't know why mom and dad didn't share. Maybe they didn't want to relive being young adults in the 1960s. I don't know. My husband, who grow up in the inner city, knows a lot more than me. He taught me that a black man invented the stop light. Isn't that cool. Thank you for touching on this subject. Your words are helping me to be free to be me. Your words are helping me to continue to go against the stereotypes and ignorance that can come from that. I'm glad to be able to admit my feelings and get free! Feelings that I've never said before–not to anyone! Thank you! Edited by FruitfulFamily on Jul. 31, 2007 at 11:31 PM

  6. This is my first time visiting here and I love your blog. This post is a timely one in that I am in the midst of trying to chose an American history text to study soon. I have not found an inclusive history book and have resigned myself to the fact that I'll have to do a lot of supplementing or do a separate study altogether. Anyway enjoying your blog.

I'd love to hear your two cents!!