Bridging the Communication Gap between Afro-Latinos and African Americans: A Postion Paper on Interdisciplinary Curriculum Development
Dr. Vargas, Dr. Kuhl, and Dr. Cruz-Carretero developed a curriculum in Latin American studies with an emphasis on Afro-Latinos to afford future K-12 schoolteachers the opportunity to gain knowledge about the history, culture, geography, and traditions of the increasing number of Latino immigrants who are African descendants into North Carolina schools. This interdisciplinary curriculum development initiative, funded by a grant from the United Negro College Fund/Special Programs, lays the foundation, through the development of two courses (African Presence in Mexico and African Presence in the Americas), for future schoolteachers to bridge the communication gap between African Americans and Afro-Latinos. Students who have taken these classes have been astonished at the extent of the African presence in Latin America and at the struggles African descendants have endured to have their presence and contributions be recognized in the various nations. In an academic sense, the students draw comparisons with the conditions of African Americans throughout the history of the United States, and they wonder at the complexity and fluidity of ethnic identity in Latin America as they contrast it with the experience in the United States. The classes open students’ eyes to the changing demographics described above. They report conversations with Afro Latinos in the workplace, their children’s schools, and in the market place. These reports enhance, explain, and elaborate the materials presented in the readings and classroom presentations and contribute, in the long term, to lay the foundations for a dialogue between these two groups of Afro-descendants.
Keywords: Afro-Latinos, African Americans, Curriculum Development, Teacher Education
Dr. Paul E. Kuhl
Professor of History, Department of Social Sciences, Winston-Salem State University