High Schools Need Ethnic Studies Classes

By Aidan Sidikpramana, Staff Writer

It has been almost 50 years since ethnic studies became a staple course in American colleges. Ethnic studies is a field of knowledge that focuses on the study of racial, sexual, and cultural differencesand the importance of understanding these differences to better our society. 


Now more than ever, we realize that there is a need to integrate ethnic studies, not just on a college level, but on the high school level. With the recent attacks on the Asian community due to the COVID pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement sweeping the nation, it is evident that more people need to be educated about other cultures and peoples.


Ethnic studies would be very beneficial for students to learn before college. The class would help provide useful information and prepare students appropriately engage in a multi-cultural community. Racism, homophobia, and xenophobia usually occur as a side effect to general ignorance of other cultures outside of the Americanized versions of them. This, of course, is a huge problem and poses a threat to multi-ethnic countries such as ours. Racism often leads groups of people to become more divisive, which should not occur because we are all part of the same nation. Requiring ethnic studies courses for high schoolers would, at the very least, introduce the concept of different cultures and attempt to teach students to become more socially and politically aware. This allows more people to be better aware of the dos and don’ts while acknowledging someone’s cultural identity. 


Making ethnic studies a required course to take in high school could reduce the amount of hatred in our country right now. A study conducted by Stanford University proved that ethnic studies in a high school environment were, in fact, effective courses. In one lesson, high school students were taught the harms of stereotyping and the divisive nature of such actions. The education of ethnic studies encouraged positive social attitudes and increased GPA scores, most notably among Latinx and Asian students. 


Teaching people about different cultures would bring our divided nation together. Rather than attacking each other for our differences, let’s learn to embrace what makes us unique. Supporting organizations and bills that will integrate ethnic studies as part of the high school curriculum will benefit our society. And, although it may be one more class you have to take to graduate, think of the benefits it will have for our country’s future.