To most, African American studies brings thoughts of slavery, the civil rights movement and Martin Luther King Jr.
The African American studies program at Austin Peay is looking to expand upon this way of thinking. An interest meeting was held at the Wilbur N. Daniel African American Cultural Center earlier this month to see what educational changes students wanted to see within the program.
The students quickly pointed out medical disparities, especially with African American skin. They said dermatologists of opposite races tend to incorrectly diagnose Black people when it comes to their skin.
Another idea was teaching students about cosmetology and how to truly care for Black hair. Students said they would like to learn more about texturism — the discrimination of hair texture — as well as how to care for different hair characteristics.
Overall, the program looks forward to going into more depth on culture, history, music, artwork and the medical field to educate students.
Anah Shae Loft, a sophomore at APSU who is pursuing a minor in Asian studies, said that a complete context of Black history could be used as a strength for students across the university.
“So much of our history is repressed and we are never taught the full history,” Loft said. “We are taught what the school wants. Seeing and learning the truth of our history will surely bring empowerment.”
According to the university’s website, the African-American studies program was designed to “create a climate of intellectual energy that embraces students, faculty, staff and friends of Austin Peay.
“African American studies courses prepare students to think critically about U.S. society and disparities of power related to race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, religion and transnational identity.”