Cherry Hill will become the first school district in New Jersey to require a separate black history course as a requirement for graduation. Brought about by pressure from student activists inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. Rather just than include the many accomplishments of African Americans in the history of our country, especially during Black History Month, an additional course will be mandatory.

It would be a great idea to offer cultural studies in history as an elective according to students' interests. Rather than separate out all of the many cultures and ethnicities that built this great country, teach that thousands of people of dozens of cultures had a place in our past in bringing us where we are today. One of the most important figures in that journey was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who famously said that he looked forward to the day when his children would be judged not by the color of their skin, but the content of their character.

Efforts like this and so many other movements we've seen over the past year serve more to divide us along lines of color and background than they do to unite us. The constant emphasis on race and division only set us back decades in the effort to unite as one nation of many backgrounds. I grew up in a racially divided neighborhood in Philadelphia in a racially divisive time. Since then, the country has made tremendous strides in coming together as Americans, no matter what your background or appearance. There are increasing numbers of interracial families, neighborhoods and workplaces. America has made great strides toward accepting people of all colors, races and creeds more than possibly any other nation on Earth.

Then, at the dawn of the 21st century things started to slide backwards. Not in reality or on the ground in peoples' day-to-day lives, but in the media, classrooms and online. The constant drum beat of messages touting America as a racist country has seeped into the minds of young people who never really experienced true racism but needed to have a cause to defend and fight for.

We elected the first African American president twice. He had a rare opportunity to bring people together more but for political purposes seemed to do the opposite in many instances. We have a media that doesn't miss any opportunity to stir up racial division as many headlines and video clips as they can. Social media has only divided us even more and any REAL conversation about race or prejudice is quickly reduced to finger pointing and accusatory name calling of the other side.

Unfortunately, academia and the media have only served to set us back dozens of years in their effort to shed light on inequities in an effort to make progress. This move by the Cherry Hill School district is yet another example of overly "educated" elites with precious little diverse real-world experience dictating to society what they think is the just moral high ground. When it's in reality just another transparently weak virtue signaling ploy to appear righteous, or just pandering to students who have a demand to resolve the situation.

When it becomes a mandatory course, that means there will be four or five classes a day teaching this and that will require more staffing of qualified teachers. Don't worry, the taxpayers of Cherry Hill will foot the bill. These feeble attempts at social engineering usually tend to backfire or cause more resentment and strife. Allowing a small number of students with albeit good intentions to dictate curriculum requirements for graduation, only serves to show just how meaningless and devoid of wisdom a high school diploma has become in New Jersey.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Dennis Malloy. Any opinions expressed are Dennis's own.

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