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Fil-Am teachers weigh in on Charlottesville, white nationalists

In the Bay Area, some Fil-Am teachers agree that statues of Confederate figures should be taken down, after the Charlottesville protests and violence that took place last weekend.

After all, they say these statues represent hate and oppression.

They also believe it’s important to learn the full extent of US history — and that means learning the contributions of all cultures.

JR Arimboanga is an ethnic studies teacher at John O’Connell High School in San Francisco who agrees that stories of white nationalists, fighting to protect their so-called “heritage,” has been around for awhile.

“What we’re seeing in the country today is not new. And for historians and social scientists like me, we know that these stories have always been here and it’s a backbone to really American history,” said Arimboanga.

Fil-Am sociology teacher at Skyline College in San Bruno, Roderick Daus-magbual agrees.
“When people talk about white supremacy it’s an ideology,” he said. “It’s more than just groups like the KKK or neo-Nazis. Because you don’t have to be white to be racist.”

These educators say they are countering how American history is taught in schools by teaching the experiences of other ethnicities when they come to the US.

“As America’s population continues to diversify, it’s really important to include these narratives, that we allow young people to really decide for themselves which side of history will they be on,” said Arimboanga.

“We want to talk about how we grew as a nation to understand everybody’s stories but also change the system so that we can have an included voice and to see ourselves in history, to see ourselves in power.”

They say that learning the shared struggles of different cultures in the US create a more understanding and tolerant society.

“The positive effects that countering those narratives, that exploring diversity, that exploring one’s place in society has actually given purpose to young people,” said Daus-magbual.
“I always use this quote in my class, ‘You belong to history before history belongs to you.’ And a lot of times we belong to a person’s history, and that’s power, right? And when you find your own history that’s another sense of power.”

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