The Frederick News-Post recently reported the posting of racial-hatred graffiti at Whittier Elementary School, and the condemnation of those acts by the school’s principal. The Frederick County NAACP strongly condemns the reprehensible racial hate-based graffiti placed at the educational institution. We support the statement issued by the principal of Whittier that such conduct will not be countenanced by this community.
However, we are aware that bigotry and racial hatred is borne of ignorance. It is the lack of knowledge and appreciation of the victimized targeted group that engenders myopic bigotry. In that regard, our educational institutions can do more than simply condemn. We can implement an educational curriculum that includes and recognizes the experience and journeys of populations that have not been meaningfully included.
Our organization asserts the importance of a diverse, multicultural curriculum that reflects the journey and experiences of all components of the society, and in particular, those groups/ethnicities that have been marginalized and inadequately included. The curriculum should embrace the history, culture, literature, art, etc. of all ethnicities. A detailed review of our education curriculum and proper modification is a systematic and institutional way to address the existential social pathology of racial hatred.
Of necessity, such review and restructuring would include the re-casting of implicit and direct white supremacy — engage in actual truth-telling. Curriculum modification, along with other inclusive actions such as the elimination of disproportionate school-to-prison suspensions, a diverse faculty, and equitable curriculum access, are proactive steps our school system can take in connection with this important equity and social justice matter.
In that the school system is one of society’s primary socialization tools, that system should step to the forefront of addressing this blight. We do not portend that the educational system is the panacea solution to this entrenched social illness, but recognize the important role to be played by such institutions.
Willie J. Mahone
Willie J. Mahone is president of the Frederick County branch of the NAACP.