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History should be a must at school


PHILIP HUNTE

History should be a must at school

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ONCE AGAIN we have showcased the creme de la creme of our vaunted educational system.

Many of the scholars are indeed brilliant, but where are those who excel in modern studies, especially geography and history? Our history has been sidelined in our scheme of education.

Our history, as opposed to his story, has been pushed aside. The chronology of events from chattel slavery to Emancipation to Independence is seemingly conveniently forgotten and most black Barbadians continue to live in denial. Barbados has not always been this way, especially materially. We need only to back-step 50 years and we see all the trappings of poverty; the oil lamp and the pit toilet.

Heritage has now superseded true history. Old buildings, historic sites are all part of history, among our cultural artefacts. This aspect is a good pitch in the tourism mix, but it is only a fraction of our history. We must not leave our history in the hands of propagandists, charlatans or racists.

History of the black man should be on our school curriculum. Not to educate our young men and women is to leave them in a very capricious situation. The fashion fads, the foreign hairstyles, Remy hair. There are scores of authentic African hairstyles which give our young people of African descent distinction. Do they know the origins of the Mohican? Falling victim to these fads is all part of youthful enthusiasm, and experimentation, but when they become endemic, it is another matter. The vendors of these wigs and other hairstyles know of the gullibility of black people.

It is doing young people of African descent an injustice when they are unaware of their history and culture, the two components which are at the core of nation building, more so in developing countries. We are still copycats, willing to adopt ideas generated in other countries. This speaks to the remnants of slavery, colonial domination and the psychological scars left by these two evils. It has left a dent to our self-pride.

History needs to be put back on the curriculum of our schools, as a core subject like maths and English. I posit the view that this can be of great benefit in lifting the self-image, esteem and pride of many a delinquent youngster.

Why don’t we see the deviance among Whites and Indians? True, they represent a smaller percentage of our population, but they are aware or their lineage, ancestry and history. They can trace their ancestry to Bombay or Liverpool and with pride. We Blacks in many cases don’t even want to acknowledge our extended families.

PHILIP HUNTE

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