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Opinions of Tuesday, 29 December 2020

Columnist: Francis Kwarteng

The America that I didn’t know existed: Immigrant experience in American education

Francis raises serious questions about the way Black people are viewed Francis raises serious questions about the way Black people are viewed

Francis Kwarteng wanted to share his harrowing American experiences with the American public as well as with the world, to contribute to the discourse on race relations, and to provide critical solutions to these problems. It is for these reasons that he writes, “The America That I Didn’t Know Existed: Immigrant Experience in American Education.”

This book raises serious questions about the way Black people are viewed and treated in America via Kwarteng’s varied social and educational experiences in America, about the important role of Afrocentric pedagogy and consciousness in expanding the American curriculum as well as in reversing negative tendencies and stereotyping expressed toward Africans and people of African descent, and about the fact that the American dream is probably the exclusive preserve of white privilege.

“America is not a level playing field for self-actualization. Contrary to what people are made to believe, white privilege, racial discrimination, employment and educational discrimination, racism and implicit bias, sexism and gender politics, the stress of Black life, and several other factors militate against the positive forces of self-actualization,” Kwarteng points out.

“Honesty, studiousness, hard work, deferred gratification and good citizenship sometimes don't pay in America, a country where the central issue of the American curriculum, purposefully designed to glorify and promote the interests of whiteness while banishing non-Whites to the dustbin of otherism, constitute the narrative bulk of the complex social, political, and moral issues this book discusses in the broader context of how these issues have impacted my experiences in America, particularly of how they have conspired to frustrate my attempts to make it in America at every turn.”

When asked what he wants readers to take away from his writing of this book, Kwarteng replies, “That the American Dream is a lie and that white privilege is very much alive. I want readers to also learn more about Afrocentric theory and how this critical theory is shaping the epistemic, sociopolitical and moral language of race relations, curriculum development, social justice, corrective historiography and the fairness of media representation.”