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Is it possible to have an ‘unbiased’ history class?

LA School Report | August 7, 2015

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By Silpa Kovvali

The summer before my senior year of high school, I went on a family vacation to India that was, in and of itself, an education. I had, of course, a connection to the land my mom and dad called home for half their lives, and had been on a handful of trips to the country before.

Still, I was struck with jealousy whenever a classmate in AP art history casually spoke of trips to Italy with her parents that seemed, to me, so sophisticated. Our two-week unit on Hinduism during eighth grade social studies, the majority of which was spent memorizing the intricacies of the caste system, hadn’t exactly afforded me the same bragging rights.

But a program I’d participated in a month earlier, focused on international studies, had left me uniquely primed for the experience. Many of the 99 New Jersey teens I’d forged strong bonds with the weeks before had similar ties to places they’d also never discussed in their respective high school’s curricula, a problem not lost on us as a unit. We debated genocide in Rwanda, and noted the lack of American intervention.

The fact that here, in this classroom where we’d all elected to be during our summer vacation, was the first time we’d grappled with the history of the African continent beyond its relation to slave trade, felt deeply relevant.

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