By Matt Baltrusitis
Universities across the nation participated in a National Ethnic Studies Week in response to recent Arizona and Texas legislation, changing K-12 curriculum to exclude ethnic studies. C.W. Post took part by holding a three-hour event on October 7th in the Hillwood Lecture Hall. The event included educators and students from all over Long Island, spanning all areas of education from elementary level to collegiate. The main purpose of this event was to analyze the recent actions taken by Arizona and Texas and to discusssing the importance of ethnic studies in our own curriculum.
Of the dozen or so speakers, a few were from Post’s very own campus and academic programs, speaking out on how their ethnicity has played a roll in their experience on and off campus. Sophomore Nicole Goonetilleke who grew up in Freeport, spoke of her experience of growing up as a bi-racial child there. “Race was not an issue for me until I was much older,” said Goonetilleke. “Freeport is a real melting pot and race is not really an issue.î
Adjoa Osei and Surrenca Albert, both in the PhD psychology program at Post, spoke on the disparity of minorities in their field of study. “Seventy-seven percent of those who receive a PhD in psychology are white,” said Albert. This has caused a trend of acculturation amongst minorities in the field of psychology. ìThey become perceived as white as they progress through their education and career, thus adopting the culture of this predominantly white institution,î said Osei.
Jeanne Attie, head of the History department at Post, spoke about the history of ethnicity in America and its contradictions. ìOne hundred years ago people accepted that there were separate Italian, Irish and Slavic races; presently those unique and separate ethnicities are now grouped under the white race. There was no white race before the black race,” said Attie. ìYou cannot have one without the other.”
Ethnic studies week, a nationally coordinated week of actions to defend ethnic studies and academic freedom, started October first and goes through to October seventh.October 7th.