The local Education USA/ACCELS center has asked me to do next week’s discussion club on Black History Month. The problems are 1) there aren’t a lot of black people in Kazakhstan and very little, if any, contributions to their history (except Pushkin), 2) they really don’t know US history well in general, and 3) there are a lot of stereotypes here that are rampant. Some are quite offensive and nasty (“All black people smell bad”) and some are less vile but still need to be dealt with (“Black people are only good at sports and music”).
So how do I design a discussion lesson plan for 90 minutes that promotes positive aspects of black history in a way that is relevant to a foreign country and allows stereotypes to be deflated without having to listen to a bunch of very offensive speech?
By the way, it is interesting how being abroad affects your sense of other. Perhaps in America, I do feel that in some ways, African Americans are other. But here in Kazakhstan, they are my country mates and therefore part of “us”! In any case, I really don’t want to end up in a back-and-forth on some ignorant but firmly held opinion about how all black people are X, Y or Z.
I’d be grateful for any advice or resources.Liked this post? Check out some of my books on