Ethical Ethnic Studies


Gabriel Mendez

John Ulloa stands on a desk to better instruct his students during a History of Ethnic Groups in US class at Skyline College in San Bruno, California

    Classes like Ethnic Studies, and others like it, help students understand and better navigate our world.

         Since July 2021 an ethnic studies requirement has been set in place for the students of California community colleges. This was enacted primarily in response to the Chancellor’s Office report on “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Call to Action” completed back in 2020. 

        UC Berkeley describes Ethnic Studies as the study of experiences and world views of people of various races and ethnicities throughout the United States and beyond. 

         While this requirement may seem annoying, it is and will be a net positive for future Skyline students. After all, California is an incredibly culturally rich and ethnically diverse place to live. Research from the Public Policy Institute of California, an independent research organization, shows that the state’s demographics are not just over a third Latino but ethnic groups like Pacific Islanders, Asians and those who identify multiracial are also growing.

Skyline College is not exempt from these trends, as demonstrated by the most recent annual report. 30.7% of the students identify as Hispanic/Latinx. Asian and Filipino people make up significant portions of the student body. 

         As people who live in a diverse state, it is important to understand the history and culture of those around us, especially when it affects our everyday lives. This isn’t just insignificant day to day interactions with others, it can have major consequences. Just think how often topics like immigration are brought up in politics and the news media. Ethnics Studies and courses like it would give students a better comprehension of the people affected by these types of issues. 

         Some argue that ethnic studies isn’t useful to people, that these classes are a waste of time, and instead students should focus on studies that are essential.

         A quick look at the news proves this wrong. Race and ethnicity has a huge effect on our country. There is no better examples of this where the protests in response to George Floyds murder.  According to the Carr Center for Human Rights Policies, estimates of the number of protestors range in the millions,. There is no doubt that this event will have a major effect on American politics. People need to know about the various social issues that caused it. At this point not having students taught ethnic studies seems foolish.

This is not an isolated opinion. The Associated Press reports that last year California implemented a new law that will make ethnic studies classes required for high schoolers by the end of the decade. Classes like these will help future students be better prepared for the real world.