PAINTING BY ZITA HOLBOURNE
HISTORY LESSONS TO BECOME PALE MALE
History lessons at school should enrich and inspire - demonstrate that despite the odds stacked against them women, black people and black women like Mary Seacole, facing multiple discrimination overcame and achieved their dreams, goals and ambitions, fought the systems that worked against them and excelled in their chosen fields, helped others and made valuable contributions to the communities and societies that they lived in leading to some of the rights that many people take for granted today. It is important that children understand how enslavement of African people was fought, how women got the vote and that they know both the positive and negative contributions made by British people through history.
That’s not to say that the lives and achievements of white men cannot inspire also but history lessons should not be restricted to the achievements of one race or gender. Children need a diverse range of role models including black and minority ethnic, white, male, female, LGBT, straight and disabled people and our history was not formed by the lives of white men alone. There should be diversity in the historical figures that are studied in school history lessons. It’s not just important for girls and black children, the white boys need to grow up understanding the value and worth of women and girls and people of all races and religions.