The background: My 8 year old daughter is in the third grade. I get along well with her teacher, and Holly seems to enjoy class. The teacher, 90% of the class, and in fact most of the school is African-American (we are white).
It all started right before Christmas, when I noticed that Holly was doing a lot of assignments about Kwanzaa (an African-American observance between Christmas and New Years'). At the holiday party, the class got up in front of the parents and sang songs about their "homeland" and "overcoming struggle", things like that, besides Christmas carols. The teacher also had them talk about what each day of Kwanzaa means, and had the candleholder there.
When she went back to school after the break, she received an assignment to research a prominent African-American and write a report on him or her. I noticed on the teacher's web page that students are encouraged to bring in copies of Jet and Ebony magazines (both African-American in scope). There was a unit recently on Martin Luther King, Jr., but I understand that most schools do that around his birthday.
I don't have objections, obviously, to Holly learning about cultures and prominent people that are often overlooked. I have no objection to learning to research and write a paper. There's just something about this that bothers me, although it doesn't bother Holly. I just feel that if you're going to discuss prominent people, that race shouldn't be part of the story. Why not Hispanics (of which there are many in my city)? Why not Asians (ditto)?
This makes me sound like a racist, though I don't know exactly how to put it into words. My question is, do I:
1. Do nothing
2. Talk over my concerns with the teacher first, and if so, how, without really putting my foot in it?
3. Call a conference with the (African-American) principal and the teacher?
What would everyone else advise? Is my thinking wrong?