The United States is a multicultural state, and diverse ethnicities took an active part in the history of the country’s formation. Nonetheless, various ethnic groups lack knowledge about their origins, history, culture, and traditions since most education is Eurocentric directed. Consequently, students from different ethnic backgrounds are less interested in learning, lack motivation, and feel oppressed. Furthermore, minorities often face racism, discrimination, and other disparities due to the persistence of incorrect stereotypes and biases that are relics of old times. These factors emphasize that ethnic studies should be required in education to provide colored students with knowledge of their heritage and stimulate learning interest, attendance, and achievement. Another reason is to expand the experience of white students about other ethnicities and their history to combat racism and eradicate existing inequities.
Currently, general education offers either superficial or no information regarding events that are important to oppressed nationalities. Ethnic studies allow students of color to discover the part of history that directly belongs to them, not only resistance and struggle for equality but also the cultural, art, and scientific background (“The Fight over Ethnic Studies”). In the context of history, ethnic studies represent profound information about significant tragic events, such as the genocide of Native Americans or the slavery of African Americans (“The Fight over Ethnic Studies”). In addition to detailed information on a specific racial or ethnic group, this course presupposes “increased student commitment to social justice, and improvement of student pride in their own identities and communities” (Bonilla et al.). The ethnic studies course offers a deeper exploration of the inheritance of Black, Latin, Native American, Asian, and other oppressed people in the United States that other courses in general education cannot provide.
The course in ethnic studies stimulates students of color to study and affects their attendance and achievement. Students are eager to learn about their legacy and history and feel that they are respected and not infringed on, which is reflected in overall performance. The researchers found out that students’ involvement in this course resulted in “increased behavioral engagement in high school,” including improved attendance and achievement (Bonilla et al.). It was also concluded that students with poor academic performance improved their chances of graduating from high school (Bonilla et al.). It can be assumed that ethnic studies is an engaging course for students and develops their desire to learn, which affects their overall performance.
Moreover, this course is an exceptional tool in the struggle against racism and prejudices and is essential for White Americans. Ethnic studies are beneficial since gaining knowledge that the course provides is “good for all students, including white students” (“The Fight over Ethnic Studies”). The study of this course allows students to broaden their horizons and get more information about other peoples, their history, culture, and traditions, as well as their contribution to art and the United States’ foundation. The course involves improving awareness of the people around, their inheritance, their paths, and challenges, which helps smooth out overall tensions and eradicate discrimination.
Ethnic studies should be required in education since it provides students of oppressed ethnicities with knowledge of their heritage, history, culture, and tradition. This course may highlight those historical events that were steadily ignored or overlooked. Ethnic studies help students realize their value and acquire new goals, motivations, and incentives. Such studies are helpful for all students, regardless of their skin color, race, or ethnicity, as it broadens the horizons and closes the gap between diverse people.
Bonilla, Sade, et al. “Ethnic Studies Increases Longer-Run Academic Engagement and Attainment.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol, 118, no. 37, 2021, Web.
“The Fight over Ethnic Studies in Tucson, Arizona.” Revolution, no. 223, 2011, Web.