Column |  Curriculum decolonization is difficult, if not impossible

Column | Curriculum decolonization is difficult, if not impossible

Get that check first, then we’ll talk. Nicole Hanna-Jones makes no bones about it at Rotterdam Theater Valhalla. A star journalist The New York Times There he talked about his grand plan 1619The history of slavery and the need for reparations.

That plan is serious A Study of American History From Black’s view, the first slave ship docked in Virginia (under the Dutch flag) in 1619. Hanna-Jones won a Pulitzer Prize with it and became a stock A national controversy. Historians Criticized exaggerations Inside 1619It started as A magazine containing a newspaper and grew A book and television series. Trump and other Republicans went berserk, as a companion American values.

So the news is not fake. Slavery, Hanna-Jones reiterated in Rotterdam, was first and foremost an “economic institution” that was racially legitimized. “It’s about stealing other people’s work.” So it is logical that a financial solution should also follow. “A debt is due” – it must be paid.

But there came an awkward moment when a — yes, white — woman in education began talking about “colonizing the curriculum.” Does Hannah-Jones have any tips for that?

Her suspicious gaze pierced the back row. “Damn it. If you know how to do that, let me know. laughter About public education? Yes.

Suspicion runs deep.

In public schools, he replied, it’s not about truth, it’s about patriotism. Schools should teach children citizenship. This makes decolonization of the curriculum difficult, if not impossible. “If we start telling them the truth about America, they’re going to hate the country.”

That too is a personal dilemma. In 1619 plan Hannah-Jones writes that her father proudly displays an American flag in the front yard. She fights for equal rights for black citizens to fly that flag. But on the other hand, why would they want to do that in a country that oppresses them? “I can’t figure it out, I can’t reconcile the two. But we don’t have another country. Being black in America still means ‘struggling.’

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This is a sensitive point. Should decolonization and self-reflection revise and expand the ‘national narrative’ or demolish it first?

At the signing table, it was asked whether capitalism could exist in America without racism. “No.”

But those other words of hers also resonated: We have no other country.

Sjoerd de Jong He writes a weekly column here.

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