Minority culture still missing from textbooks, classes despite achievments

Illustration by Mira Ko

Mikaela Reinard, Contributing Writer

Illustration by Mira Ko
Illustration by Mira Ko

American history books addressing social issues, written by historians for high school curriculums, fail to adequately represent minority culture. These textbooks have been used incessantly in school settings to teach students about the advancements and fallbacks of our nation.

There has been little to no representation of minority culture in a majority of textbooks and great American works of writing. This is a huge issue. By leaving out such vital information, students are missing out on a large part of what made America. As a result, students aren’t able to adequately obtain knowledge on minority influences in the United States until they chose to do so for themselves when they reach college.

America was built upon immigrants, yet there is no recognition of the work they put in to help advance the country to where it is today. Everyone came to America in order to achieve the American Dream, but only the efforts of the majority — white — population was ever fully recognized.

Carnegie is revered by history books and is a name that has never faded from the mouth of the American people. What is he known for that got him into history books? Someone who achieved the American Dream? Cheap and efficient production of steel rails for railroad lines. He might have produced them, but he didn’t put them together. He didn’t slave in the sweltering heat to make sure those railroad piece were assembled and bolted to the ground.

It was mainly Chinese immigrants who built the first railroads that ever rested on American soil, yet they never get any of the glory. At most, they get one sentence in history textbooks, despite them being the moving factor for such a large advancement in our society, which completely transformed transportation as Americans knew it.

Historically, minorities have come to, or were brought to America as the first-generation  to land on the coninent. With their family name and no saftey net, unlike bloodlines of Americans such as Carnegie and Rockefeller.  These minorities, at most, have enough money in their wallet for transportation to a hotel when they first step onto U.S. soil.

After all, according to the July 2014 Census, 37.9 percent of American citizens are classified as minorities. Just over a quarter of the population is classified as a minority race, and yet only a miniscule amount of minorities are even present in American literature.

Let’s focus in on that 37.9 percent of time when any minority race gets the limelight in any textbook or literature that gets used in educational settings. The minority race is usually undermined and are the ones being rescued, educated or bossed around by the white man.

For example, when textbooks speak of Englishmen pushing Native Americans off of their land, they attempt to make it sound regal and as if the Englishmen did a service to the Native Americans by introducing Western society to them.

The books say that the Englishmen educated the Native American to keep them up to par with current advancements in Europe. In reality, the Englishmen imposed themselves on the Native Americans and created an extremely uncomfortable situation that still hasn’t been fully resolved.

Society is always swayed in the direction that literature takes, and literature molds into the thoughts that are basking in the back of the minds of society. Textbooks also mold the minds of our youth, and create impressions in their spongy minds of what happened before they came around.

We might say that minorities are more appreciated now, but until I see that accurately translated into the next edition of a McGraw Hill history textbook for U.S. History, I’ll be wary of how our society perceives American history, which is currently in favor of the white man rather than all of its ethnicities, cultures, colors, and religions.

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