Black and Latino studies major is a great step forward

Tahreem Ashraf

To challenge the narrative of Black inferiority and highlight the political, economic and historical perspectives of minorities in the United States, the new Black and Latino studies major at Baruch College is a significant step to breaking off the status quo.

On Feb. 1, the Black and Latino studies major was approved by Baruch faculty with one accord without any opposition from CUNY institutions and will be official in fall semester. Students will be given the opportunity to major in this area of study through the Baruch College Ad Hoc Major proposal.

“Black and Latino Studies becomes an official major at @baruch_college in Fall 2022. We salute the amazing chair of @bls_baruch, Professor Shelly Eversley, for all her work in making the major happen,” Baruch’s Weissman School of Arts and Sciences posted on Instagram.

A 2016 study at Stanford revealed that ethnic studies increase students’ attendance and performance as well as lower dropout rate. Such an area of study increases the self-esteem of the students who belong to that ethnic group by appreciating the intellectual and cultural contribution of African, Caribbean and Latin American diasporas to our country.

“The BLS major will provide students tools to think critically as they practice real-world applications of academic learning to develop solutions to social issues rooted in longstanding and persistent racial inequalities,” Black and Latino Studies Department Chair Shelly Eversley said.

To promote faculty and student diversity, equity and opportunity, the interdisciplinary course of Black studies was established at San Francisco State University in 1968 and later 200 programs for this project were developed across the United States, including CUNY.

“Black studies grew out of a civil rights movement that was united around clear goals like school desegregation and voting rights. Now, the field’s direction is complicated by deeper divisions within the black community, including class and ancestry,” The New York Times reported.

One of the flaws of the education system is its whitewashing of history, leaving out minority and marginalized communities and depicting a skewed reality of history. The new major introduced aims to fight systematic racism and will allow students to develop solutions for the persistent racial and social inequalities.

The purpose of the Black and Latino studies is to survey the history, culture and social fabric of Black and Latino population in the United States.

The curriculum will focus on highlighting the experience of the groups in context of the United States and major socioeconomic and political issues and psychological perspectives surrounding the community.

Moreover, the knowledge that comes with it provides tools to appreciate diversity and the importance of a multicultural America.