This is an interesting area - I am one of the white middle class male teachers that is trying to promote more black and asian history. The colleagues that I mention in my seminar are white, the contributors to this forum are (I would hazard an educated guess) overwhelmingly white, so what is to be done to tackle this? In my opinion we need to have some form of positive discrimination to encourage ethnic minorities into teaching. There has been a successful attempt to encourage more men into primary teaching, so a precedent has been set.
sociological research has shown that black and asian students perceive certain subjects as ethnocentric and choose not to take them. History is one of them. Further still, if the course content is more black/asian "friendly" they are still suspicious as it is perceived as being delivered from a white male perspective.
As an anecdotal aside, I took a group of year 11 students to a debate on Black History Month hosted by Radio London at the Tabernacle in Notting Hill last October. I was asked about my opinions about Black History Month and as I responded I was loudly heckled by a group of sixth formers from the pan-africanist youth congress, who were rather upset that a white man was speaking about issues that he could have no understanding of, and that I was engaging in another form of cultural imperialism. My students were rather shocked at the level of vitriol, but I was happy to debate with the pan-africanists. I explained that whilst black history month should not be needed I was very proud to have used the opportunity to challenge the status quo of white m/c male history and the students backed me fully on this. I was also glad that my students were able to see a group of politicised black youth, who were prepared to argue (rather than fight) to express their differences. What was also interseting was to be defended from the platform and from the floor (by the Nation of Islam no less) for the stance that I was taking.
I have also just returned home from a Year 6 prospective evening and the final parent that I spoke to (a black woman) came up to ask me specifically whether the school celebrated Black History Month. I think she was a bit surprised by the overwhelming wave of enthusiasm that rushed out of my mouth as I described the great plans that I have, the website that I was writing to ....
Edited by Dan Lyndon, 09 July 2003 - 08:30 PM.