What were they trying to teach these kids?
Kids Need Context
For young African-American students, seeing a depiction of a brown-skinned slave created by their fellow students (who are mostly white) could be counterproductive to the lesson’s intended purpose. Especially considering that these posters were hanging without any context beside them.
A 10-Year Tradition?
What’s shocking to many is that this history unit has been part of the program for 10 years. Now the school board, with the cooperation of parents, is reevaluating the “slave ad” section of the lesson plan.
The superintendent has also publicly apologized on behalf of the board: “We are rethinking the Colonial America Project for next year, and will eliminate the example of a slave auction poster,” said Dr. Ramos.
Hopefully they reconsider the runaway slave “wanted” posters as well…
America’s Dark History
The message of the parent who initially posted the pictures online wasn’t that these kids shouldn’t be taught the history of colonial America and slavery, but that recreating slave advertisements is definitely not the way to go about teaching. Especially without an explanation to the students who aren’t taking part in the lesson.
“While it was not our intention, we recognize that the example of a slave auction poster, although historically relevant, was culturally insensitive,” said Superintendent Ramos.
And if you thought POSTERS were bad, wait till you hear about the school that held an actual (simulated) slave auction…