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Opinion: Teaching Native culture reduces racism

"Juneau is an open community, friendly and on the surface is tolerant of diverse ideas and views. I read with interest about a plan or lack thereof to mitigate racism in our schools. It is easier to discuss a problem than it is to solve one, especially one that is sticky like racism. However, if we agree that a root cause of racism is a lack of cultural understanding, sensitivity and education, then I have a suggestion.

Years ago, our enlightened school board dismissed Alaska history and all of its cultural traditions as "needless" for the successful education of our Juneau youth. However, understanding the other guy creates the "atmosphere" where racial tolerance and cultural understanding is the norm, not the exception.

Our school board should reinstitute mandatory Alaska history that covers the cultural aspects of our Native peoples, not just as an elective, but as a requirement. Our school board has a duty to increase the understanding and knowledge of our young citizens as a positive step to reducing racism in our schools."

Get the Story:
Duff Mitchell: Understanding cultures reduces racism (The Juneau Empire 3/11)