As a settler nation, the United States has necessitated the invention and sustained dissemination of various lies in order to negate, hide, and distort the truth about its past and present. These lies get taught to children as fairy tales at schools -as stories with sweet beginnings and happily-ever-after endings- and these fictions form the backbone of the history and social studies curricula of most K-12 classrooms in the U.S. Reinforcing these myths is recent legislation in at least 42 states barring teachers from teaching the honest history of the land we live on, forcing educators to lie about the origins of the United States, and limiting discussion on race and gender in the elementary, high school, and college classrooms.
Last year, as a massive uprising against systemic racism swept across the world, activists fighting for Black liberation and racial justice put radical demands against institutional racism on the table, such as abolishing and defunding the police. Another key step toward challenging institutional racism is the push for ethnic studies and teaching about systemic racism in U.S. schools. I am part of that fight in California. Last year, Pittsburg, California’s school board passed an ethnic studies resolution and tasked an ethnic studies committee with implementing curricula for the school district. Pittsburg is a working-class, ethnically diverse city in the San Francisco Bay Area. Founded initially as a coal mining town, one of the main employers is the USS-POSCO steel mill.