Ethnic Studies: Well done LAUSD

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

When I attended Orange County, CA public schools, I learned little of other cultures. Race, gender, and cultural identities were barely mentioned. In the decades since then, I have discovered that what I was taught in the 1960’s and 1970’s about others was often incorrect and frequently incomplete.

As I understand it, Ethnic Studies is an academic field that spans the humanities and the social sciences. It emerged in response to a narrow perspective I, and many others, received in courses such as history, literature, and sociology. As a nation, we’ve intentionally ignored so much in our educational system.

The resistance (and in some cases, hostility) to offering an Ethnic Studies course at LAHS to juniors and/or seniors is unwarranted and confounding. Exposing students to a global perspective should be a goal of education. As a Cultural Anthropology professor at Duke University noted, “The US is a very diverse country, and an advocate would say we should teach kids to understand multiculturalism and diversity…” because these tools will be needed for careers in law, government, and teaching to name a few.

These courses, this knowledge, can enrich our children by teaching them to value diversity and to prepare them for the globalized world in which we live. Frankly, I’ve spent my last few decades reading and traveling just for that reason: to appreciate others; to participate in diverse opportunities with other cultures; to understand real history; and, to lay bare stereotypes learned in my youth.

I applaud the LAUSD Board of Education members for voting to create an Ethnic Studies course at LAHS. Well done.

Denise Miller




Ethnic Studies: Well done LAUSD