What is the matter with Virginia teachers? What possessed this one to decide re-enacting a slave auction would be a good idea? I kid you not. First fetus dolls in their elementary schools, now this.
The obvious problem is separating the kids — obvious problem is obvious.
But there’s another problem — the Charleston Problem, and that is, the narrative regarding the reasons this country fought itself in the Civil War have been coopted by idiots who like to put on their fanciest Confederate gear and pretend shoot one another. They see it as a celebration of history. I see it as a yearning for a Simpler Time, when it was all mint juleps, and seersucker, and field negroes. It makes me exceedingly uncomfortable.
I think AngryBlackLady is putting that mildly. In the ABC interview with the kids, you can almost see them defending their teacher, which is somewhat heartbreaking to me -- that they would be in a position first to be humiliated in that fashion, and then feel as though they needed to gentle-down what was done in that school that day.
And more to the point, it's beyond clueless. It indicates an attitude that doesn't think one is the same flesh and blood as "those people." This isn't political correctness. This is taking a painful episode in history and asking children to re-enact it as a 'learning experience', with skin color determining what place in the re-enactment they will assume. Someone who thinks like that is also separating "those children" from the others in her own mind as a matter of course.
It isn't as though elementary schools in Virginia haven't had similar incidents over the years. There is a pattern here that continues to go unaddressed:
Last year, a Jacox Elementary teacher who anointed students with "holy oil" in the classroom resigned after a parent complained about the teacher's religious actions. The division determined the teacher violated the school system's instructional curriculum as well as policies and laws related to the separation of church and state.
Also last year, two teachers at Norcom High School were placed on leave for using materials in the classroom that were endorsed by an anarchist group and an organization that backs legalized marijuana. Both received letters of reprimand for not receiving permission to use the materials in class and returned to their jobs.
An elementary guidance counselor who distributed 80 to 100 human fetus figurines to students last year at Oakwood Elementary resigned after being put on leave. The school's principal was removed from her post and reassigned elsewhere as an assistant principal.
This didn't just happen in Virginia last week, either. In Ohio last month another teacher decided a "re-enactment" was in order:
Nikko Burton, a 10-year-old student at Chapelfield Elementary in Ohio, says he was humiliated by his teacher when she tried to demonstrate what it was like to be a slave on an auction block. Burton, one of two black students in his class, was chosen to be a slave. Students who were the "masters" inspected the "slaves" to see if they would be able workers.
Meanwhile, confederate themes continue to grow and proliferate more than ever. 150 years later, the Civil War rages on, to all of our detriment.
Perhaps it would help these teachers in Virginia and Ohio to remember better if they were forced to wear a big scarlet "B" (for bigot) instead of just apologizing.