I’ve grown up in the Tahoma District, and in the 12 years that I’ve gone here, I can probably count on one hand the number of times I have had a teacher of color. I believe a pivotal aspect of diversity lies within the curriculum.
Last year, I took AP Art History, a nationally standardized course that I assumed would talk about works from cultures all across the world. Although the curriculum did have art from different cultures, the imbalance of cultural representation was alarming. Out of the 250 art slides that we were presented, 55 percent were of European origin, yet roughly five were of Hispanic backgrounds. I believe that by creating such a large divide of focus for each cultural content area, the curriculum is somewhat suggesting that art from the Western world has greater importance, devaluing works from different cultures and therefore the culture itself.
The students taking this course come from all different backgrounds, and so their culture may be the one that is marginalized. Although students in today’s society often experience Western dominance, bringing this same imbalance of power and representation into the classroom only sustains the issue.
Sophia Heinz, Renton
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