Pandering Or Inspiration?

Chris Powell, managing editor of the Journal Inquirer, weighs in on the Board of Education requiring courses in African American, Caribbean and Latino studies.

The sad thing is that if the education of poor city kids was ever likely, and if education elsewhere in Connecticut was ever more serious (student performance in most towns isn’t so much better than in Bridgeport), the histories of the country’s minority groups would be crucial additions for students of all backgrounds. (The Asians should be included too even though they don’t whine as much politically.)

For inevitably the teaching of history has been skewed toward the ethnic majority, even though what most redeems the country is its heroic if uneven trudge toward democracy, equality, and inclusion.

Will Bridgeport teach the history of racial and ethnic minorities as more cause for perpetual grievance, resentment, and dependence–that is, teach it as mere political pandering?

Or will this history be taught as cause for inspiration, achievement, and respect for those whose sacrifice and persistence amid adversity made the country better not just for their own groups but for everyone else too–made it, indeed, the hope of the world?

Full commentary here.



  1. We have been learning about Christopher Columbus for years a man who did not discover this country! I have no problem making it a requirement to have African American,carribean,latino studies a requirement.

  2. Is this guy serious? He really wrote this:
    “(The Asians should be included too even though they don’t whine as much politically.)”
    So asking that student be taught about the positive contributions of minority ethnic groups is whining?
    And then he follows with this condescending bullshit:
    “Will Bridgeport teach the history of racial and ethnic minorities as more cause for perpetual grievance, resentment, and dependence — that is, teach it as mere political pandering?”
    seriously – like there is going to an accredited teacher up there teaching children to complain about the MAN. Honestly. any effort to show minority children that there was more to their history than just slavery and MLK is met with this type of opinion piece.
    This guy could probably care less about the students of Bridgeport and their education. He is another that needs to take his MAGA attitude and stick it. Its like they are afraid that minority children are going to be enlightened to their true history and be inspired to do more than dribble a ball or stand on the corner. The next time this guy thinks to write about inner city students, do a favor and don’t.

    1. Interesting take away life long. I thought he made valid points and gave serious thought to challenge the teaching methods and message. Granted his choice of phrasing was harsh, but on the other hand, the white washing of American history has been harsh. Kids in college know when a first generation Asian American is in their class, the curve is gone and it’s going be next to impossible to receive an easy A, because the Asian community as a whole don’t whine politically and has the reputation of focus on and working the best that America has to offer, from education to creating success lucrative small business. We should all take a lesson from their example. Talk about political whining – affirmative action caused an awful lot of white Americans to yell foul! Because of the history they’ve been taught. I would like to see all American History be taught the way Bridgeport is working towards. I find the last paragraph of this article the directive and hope of how this important initiative will be constructed.

  3. Did Chris Powell talk to anyone on the curriculum committee and think about their purpose before setting pen to paper….or whatever he uses to set down his attitudes on a blank sheet.

    History is understood to be written by the “victors” of the time, not the losers. Does that mean majority, as he claims, or a small minority who shape the facts into a story line? Why not require all people to know their own story, the history of their parents, grandparents and as far back as you can reach….the heroes and scoundrels….the honestly recorded and supported events as well as the shaped stories and anecdotes that have come down as history. And perhaps we all should see MARSHALL as soon as possible for a little history from 75-80 years ago to give some sense of who had the upper hand in the CT court system, where religious and racial minorities stood in the pecking order in CT as well as in the South, and how a challenging fight for justice can sometimes uncover the facts and protect the innocent? One movie like that each month or quarter with family and community discussions can break down lots of bad history and perhaps even some bias? Time will tell.

  4. Would anyone question the validity/utility of any other “citizenship” class? That is all that these classes are — relevant racial/ethnic history classes for the predominant racial/ethnic groups compromising the population of our city… The history of an ethnic group in our society influences their perception/behaviors in our society. Teaching this helps the individuals of such groups to “know” themselves… It seems that such understanding promotes the type of pride, understanding, and societal cooperation that underpins all manner of “productive” behavior in our society… Even being taught that one’s group was considered “inferior” and an “underclass” during its history in our society usually serves to inspire achievement and upward mobility… Isn’t this the story of every ethnic group in America… Wasn’t this taught in traditional civics/history classes in regard to the various immigrant minorities that have integrated fully into our society…

    We have to be mindful that the history of some ethnic groups in this country (e.g., blacks, Native Americans, Mexican Americans) have been negatively influenced by aggression and atrocity and that this portion of their history needs to be presented in a factual, truthful manner that promotes “healing” and a sense of full integration into our society. This history needs to be known and understood by all citizens so that we can all appreciate the need and benefits to all of us of full understanding and consequent full integration into our whole society…

    Mandating the teaching of these classes is only recognition of the need for knowledge and healing in this regard, and is truly in keeping with the mandatory teaching of “civics” in the traditional sense…

    Why wouldn’t an astute journalist such as Chris Powell recognize this?!

    I wish that this new curriculum would have been taught when I attended Central High in Bridgeport; I think that we would have a much better city today had that been the case…

  5. First let me say this person that wrote this mindless dribble is delusional at best. How do you have American history without the inclusion of Blacks in every aspect of American history and not just slavery and MLK? Every history book in American should be thrown away and rewritten so that it represents the REAL American history. What this fool doesn’t take into account is that if you are lying about what happened in American history all you have is LIES and not American history.

    How long will our history books continue to perpetuate the myth of Christopher Columbus as this great man that discovered America and not include that he killed thousands of indigenous people, sold girls as young as 12 years old into prostitution and that if he were alive today would be put on trial for crimes against humanity. The lies about this barbarian are allowed to continue unabated in our history books while the accomplishments of Blacks like Otis Boykin who perfected electrical resistors used in computers, Charles Brooks who invented the street sweeper truck, Benjamin Banneker who created the first American striking clock, the 1st Farmer’s Almanac not to mention his scientific work in the 1791 survey of the Federal Territory now known as Washington DC. These are but a few of the thousands of accomplishments of Blacks in American history that is conveniently left out of history books so that white America can’t continue to lie about our place in history while perpetuating the lies about whites in history.

    BLACK history is American history and to suggest that because Blacks ask of inclusion in their history books and classrooms that is somehow whining. It defies credulity that in the 21st century you still have whites portrayal of Blacks as whinny and self-serving instead of just a people that want and deserve their place in American history because even though some of you don’t think so, America would be as completely different place had it not been for the inclusion of Blacks throughout history from the billions of hours of free labor, to their participation in every war fought in and by America and we did this even though we have always been and continue to be treated like 2nd class citizens.

    Finally, to try and compare Blacks to Asian, Latinos or any other ethnic group is a disservice to my ancestors that built America off their blood, sweat and tears, off the back breaking work they had to endure,off the murder, rape and degradation of my people, when NO OTHER ethnic group in America has paid the price of inclusion that the American Blacks did and has. When these other ethnic groups have endured hundreds of years of slavery and free labor, then and only then should anyone compare their service to America with that of the American BLACK. We’re in a class by ourselves and American history does bear that out.


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