Tuesday, April 17, 2012

April 17, 2012 5:45 PM--African History

I’m often asked by Ugandans the differences between schools here and schools in America.  One time I was asked what students in America learn in history class.  The answer shocked them.  I told them that we learn American history and “World history”.  I explained that we usually learn about European history, but not much more than that.  I was then asked what we learn about African history and I had to explain that we don’t really get much African history, that we learn more just African geography, if anything.  The response I got was all too appropriate… “Do we not have history here in Africa?”  I didn’t quite know how to respond.



Students here learn about a lot more history than students in America do.  Ugandan students learn about African history, European history, American history, and even some Asian history I think.  Why don’t students in America learn African history?  I remember when I was in high school in Philadelphia this problem in history curriculums came up (mostly just in public schools), because in the city of Philadelphia there are more African American students than any other race (in the city as a whole) and yet they didn’t learn their own history.  I think if Americans got more of well-rounded history lesson throughout their schooling maybe people wouldn’t be so ignorant about Africa.  They wouldn’t think that South Africa and Africa are the same thing.  They would understand the difference between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of the Congo.  They would realize things like the fact that Rwanda is safe to travel to because what happened there in 1994 is no longer happening.  They would also understand the similarities and differences between Africa and wherever they live in America.  I think all of this is incredibly important to come out as a well-adjusted adult who makes educated decisions.

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