Ethnic literature gives seniors options


Ben Truong, Staff Writer

Picture walking into a class knowing that there is respect and the opportunity to talk about deeper subjects in a safe space while continuing your education. Ethnic Literature, a new English class offered to seniors across Poway Unified School District (PUSD) was introduced by PUSD to improve racial equality and inclusion in its schools. 

 Ethnic Lit fulfills the English requirements for graduation. It joins World Lit and Expository Reading and Writing as English classes.

APEL and sophomore English teacher Katie McMillan, and Honors Humanities and AP Lit teacher Erica Rangel volunteered to teach the new course. “As the English department chair and being part of the equity committee, I naturally was able to apply things to help PUSD build this course,” McMillan said. 

Their goals for the class are to not only help seniors develop reading and writing skills in preparation for college, but to also give students an opportunity to learn about the world around them. “I’d say that in Ethnic Lit we’re taking students on a personal journey to help them develop how they see themselves as individuals as well as how they perceive the world around them through new perspectives,” McMillan said. 

The class involves reading and writing similar to any typical English class, but the reading material is more culturally inclusive. “We get to read newer and more diverse things which is really exciting,” McMillan said. 

Students taking the class have been satisfied with their decision. “I really enjoy being able to take a class dedicated to further representation of those who’ve gone without for so long. In Ethnic Lit I’m finally able to see myself in the stories, poems, and articles, and see my experiences as a person of color reflected within them,” senior Halle Kauffman said. 

“It’s a really cool class because we’re able to talk about serious topics that I probably wouldn’t be able to talk about in any other class setting,” senior Megan Goldberg said. 

Students sometimes discuss the unfortunate realities of the world. “There are times we are doing things that are more light hearted and there are some days that are a little more heavy because of what we are reading and talking about. When you read about other people’s experiences, it’s not always positive,” McMillan said. 

Overall, seniors seem excited about this new opportunity. “I really hope that students walk away from it knowing themselves better and knowing the complexity of people’s experiences in the world and not jumping so quickly to judge them through assumptions. I want my students at the end of Ethnic Lit to be more reflective of others’ experiences,” McMillan said.