Why was I not taught Black history?
In light of recent events and the feeling that I can no longer not attempt to use my voice to reach back to Caldwell County five years after relocating and earning my degrees at the University of Kentucky, I’ve begun to question what informed the inaccurate beliefs I held back then, as well as those of my former classmates who have posted opinions online in response to recent news that made me physically sick.
Maybe they heard them from family, maybe from friends, maybe from their news sources. But most importantly, they (and before college, I) never learned different. I was taught that the Civil War was about “states’ rights.” I never had a black teacher. I never read a book by a black author. I read one book concerning racism and it was from the perspective of a young white girl.
I didn’t know who Malcolm X was. I was never taught modern forms of racism—redlining; unequal access to health care, education, and financial assistance; environmental racism; disproportionate rates of arrests, police brutality, charges, and incarceration. It haunts me that I only know better because I was privileged enough to receive a merit award to go beyond Caldwell County education.
I’ve recently sent a letter to the school board asking them to answer the call for change. It is also public and can be found on my Facebook (Whitley Horning). I’m asking those in the community who believe that black lives matter to join me in the fight.