When I was a child I learned about slavery and some teachers were extremely creative in their method of teaching the sensitive subject matter. However, this story takes creativity to a whole entirely different level. In Atlanta, (Gwinnett County) there is a huge uproar (not really) about a group of teachers using slavery to teach their students math.
Now, when I first read the story I was outraged! This had to be some racist BULLSHIT and I was gonna get the details on why these teachers thought it was alright to teach third graders about slavery via mathematics applications.
I calmed myself down, because I work with all white people, and I didn’t want to go to jail, and I read it again. This time I imagined I was a white man reading the same story.
It still sounded fucked up! But not because of the obvious racism (especially if the teachers were white) but rather because I remember learning about slavery in grade school and the one thing I remember about learning about it as a black kid, was it was hard to look at yourself and others, black and white, the same after learning it.
You begin to wonder, “What the fuck did I do wrong, in order for white people to hate me so much and do such a horrible thing.” It turns into self-hatred if not treated properly and that turns in to a black child becoming a Conservative man, like Clarence Thomas or O.J. Simpson (the Juice).
I’m not upset that teachers talked about slavery or even that they incorporated it into a math assignment. I am upset because those children are the one’s who will suffer at the hands of ill-prepared teachers.
From what I read about the story, none of the teachers looked over the assignment before passing it out, some teachers who did, opted out of teaching the material all together. And the biggest problem is, this comes on the heels of MLK Day of Service in a metro area which is MAJORITY Afro-American and minority culture(s).
The teachers haven’t been punished at all and the local NAACP in Atlanta wants them to be held accountable, even though officials feel that they did nothing wrong.
They did! But its not what the parents are fussing about. The parents didn’t want their third graders to hear about this in school, and that is wrong. Schools are built to teach the good, the bad and the hideous. However, they should do so in a manner that respects ALL individual and cultural identities, especially with a school so diverse as this one.
Adding up how many beatings Frederick Douglas got in a week is a bit laughable to hear, but only because you’d never imagine such a question in a third grade math class. I wish they’d put questions like this on the math portion of the SAT. Shit!
It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Hopefully the lazy ass teachers get some sort of discipline.