Ahjah Hamilton: How Racism and Discrimination in the Literary Canon Effect American Education

Ahjah Hamilton, Barbara Thomspon and Dr. Althea Tait, Department of English, State University of New York 350 New Campus Dr, 14420

With the assistance of the McNair Program at SUNY Brockport, I have studied the ways in which African Americans, as well as other POC are represented in the literary canon and how this representation correlates to the curriculum in American classrooms. I recognized that racism and discrimination affect almost every aspect of society, including the education system. These issues are shown through the lack of diversity in school staff as well as school curriculum. This research was conducted partly because the works of Black and other POC scholars are often overlooked and understudied in comparison to their white counterparts. This research was conducted with the purpose of identifying how racism affects education because it is unfair and unethical for educators to focus their curriculum on white culture and history, when this doesn't reflect the diversity of the classrooms in which they teach. The information used was found through interviews, as well as other scholarly journals and articles. One major finding is that a lot of Black and other POC writers and poets such as Mari Evans, often feel unrecognized for their achievements, a statement even more true for the Black and POC women in the literary canon. Another major finding was that studies have shown that children and students are more receptive to information if they can somehow relate to it. Another major finding was that teachers at suburban schools tended not to have much representation, while teachers in urban schools typically have a more diverse curriculum even though there is still a lot more room for improvement. This research is intended to spark a conversation about the ways we can begin to make the education system more inclusive for the benefit of future students.

Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Ahjah Hamilton

Institution: State University of New York- Brockport

Type: Poster

Subject: Education

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 5
Date/Time: Tue 12:30pm-1:30pm
Session Number: 4168