By Taylor Thomas, South Kern Sol

Ethnic Studies courses will soon be required in general education requirements among community colleges in California.

The California Community College Board voted in favor of this addition in early July. Rather than adding this course to the existing requirements, colleges will be reallocating previous requirements to make room for the course without increasing required units.

Bakersfield College will be adding Ethnic Studies to their required curriculum for incoming students as early as Fall 2021. Previously the general education pattern had areas A-E but with Ethnic Studies being incorporated it’ll now include areas A-F.

These classes will provide a curriculum that will offer essential perspectives on 4 diverse groups: African Americans, Native Americans, Latino/a Americans, and Asian Americans. The courses will offer insight and information about the different stories among minority group cultures; they will dive into the history, traditions, and more of each of these ethnic backgrounds.

Marisa Marquez, Director of Counseling and Student Success at Bakersfield College is very enthusiastic about these courses being added to the general education requirements; she truly believes it’ll benefit all students of every background and race. Furthermore, the groups that will be recognized through these courses are groups that many BC students belong to.

“As community colleges we serve such a diverse group,” Marquez stated. “When you’re looking at having Ethnic Studies—if you really think about it—historically a lot of people are falling through the gaps. They have been. We are returning to a new world.”

There will be multiple ethnic studies classes to choose from and many believe the classes can offer a sense of belonging and pride to students attending Bakersfield College.

The BC staff has been working vigilantly to ensure their courses meet the state requirements for the Ethnic Studies course to a tee. Many have been teaching these topics already and look forward to the future.

“The faculty is incredible,” Marquez continued. “Our faculty, their passion, their creativity, and their own love permeates through this curriculum.”

When asked why she believes this course was pushed into being a requirement Marquez said, “The CSU system belongs to students. Education is your right. It belongs to students. Why wouldn’t you? How was it that we went this far without it? It’s a wonderful validation of who people are.”