White Men Only

Speaking of public schools, my sixteen-year-old dropped out of high school.

No, she didn’t, really. She actually signed up for the state’s dual enrollment program (called Running Start), and elected to become a full-time student at the local community college, with no high school classes on her schedule at all. This is working out beautifully so far. She enjoys her classes and she especially enjoys the absence of stupid high school stuff. She seems unconcerned about social issues and still spends plenty of time with her friends. Tigger’s goal is to finish her two years with both a high school diploma and an AA degree.

It’s a little tricky. She has to carefully choose classes that satisfy both the requirements of the AA degree and the high school graduation requirements.

For example, to graduate from high school she needs a class in American History. Well, that’s cool, it will satisfy a college humanities requirement. But which class to take?

The college offers:

  1. US History I
  2. US History II
  3. US History III
  4. Women in US History
  5. African American History
  6. Native American History

Courses 1 through 3 can be summed up as “white men and their wars.” Courses 4, 5, and 6 could be called “other stuff that happened.” This being my child and all, she would much (+++) prefer courses 4 through 6, any one of them, really.

So she went to her high school counselor, who has to sign off on all of her choices before she registers each quarter, and asked him if she could take one of those classes for her American History requirement.

What do you think he said, friends?

Yes, you’re right. He said no. Only “white men and their wars” counts as real history. To his credit, he didn’t like the school district’s policy and agreed that she should be allowed to take the other courses. It’s not like there’s no overlap. Do you suppose the African American History course includes no discussion of the Civil War? It’s merely a question of perspective, and one perspective is privileged above all others.

That is a lesson my daughter is sure to remember.


17 thoughts on “White Men Only

  1. I guess, if nothing else, you could pick her up a copy of Zinn’s A People’s History Of The United States to provide a factual, alternative view. I believe everyone over the age of 16 should at least read it, if not own a copy.

    I’ll bet your very proud of her!

  2. It also really depends on the professor that teaches the course. The professor that taught the Western Civilization course included the perspective that “Western” civilization had on the rest of the world. He focused less on this thing happened on this date and more on what was important about the event from a sociological standpoint. There is a chance she could get a professor that she enjoys.

  3. when i was a senior in high school, i also took college classes. but in my school, i had already had enough credits to graduate and thus took college classes. 🙂 good luck to your daughter and ….silly you. really did you think she could skip anything about white men and war? lol

  4. In college, I loved taking courses on essentially the same topics in history over and over to learn about different perspectives. There was a seminar (History 130) that changed every semester, and I took it as often as I could (as a bio major, English minor it actually worked out for me quite a few times). Maybe her future classes from different perspectives will hit home more after the white male war version.

  5. Cool about Tigger advancing so rapidly. The history thing has me a little troubled. 7 eyewitnesses in the same c-store robbery will testify to 7 differing accounts as to what went down, I suspect history is no different. So take 1 – 3 and understand that this is the prevailing view, but know there are other perspectives. Generally the survivors are the ones to tell the tale, though.

  6. Good for her! I wish they had those programs when my kids were in High School. Their High School just started doing the dual credits in the last two years. What a great program.
    History is written by the victor. Stupid but true.

  7. Yes, the problem with women’s history or Afr-Am history, etc. is ghettoization – we want to argue that those areas deserve in-depth treatment, but if they are taught separately, then then there is less incentive for *some* people to incorporate them into the survey. That said, I taught the U.S. History survey (options 1-3 above) for YEARS and my focus was always social and cultural history. Also, war is important and affects everyone. 🙂
    (yes, I finally got over here and you don’t want to know how long it took me to set up this account so I could comment here.)

    • Yay! I’m glad you took the time to set up an account. Now blog, baby, blog.

      I see the issue with ghettoization, and obviously wars need to be included in history classes, but in my experience, history classes are all about wars with little or no social or cultural anything. If only you were teaching the class Tigger will take!

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