Teacher to Student: Read Poem 'Blacker'
Viriginia ninth-grader Jordan Shumate says that during class this month, he was reading aloud a poem by acclaimed African-American writer Langston Hughes when his teacher interrupted and directed him to read in a "blacker" style. When he didn't comply, she demonstrated for him. And when he asked her why she thought all black people spoke that way, Shumate says he was reprimanded for speaking out of turn.
From the Washington Post:
“She told me, ‘Blacker, Jordan -- c’mon, blacker. I thought you were black,’ ” said Shumate, who is African American.
“We take these allegations very seriously, and we’re investigating,” Principal Jay Pearson said Friday. He declined to provide further details.
Shumate said it wasn’t the only time that he felt singled out in English class because of his race.
This week, in preparation for reading literature about the Holocaust, the teacher showed photographs to illustrate common stereotypes about different groups of people, Shumate said.
Shumate said Bart showed an image of grape soda -- a drink of choice among African Americans, according to a racial stereotype -- and asked him to explain its meaning. Denny corroborated his account.
This story is making the news because Jordan's mom spoke up when he told her what happened, but it draws attention to what we believe is a bigger issue: How many black kids across the country have to defend against stereotypes, humiliation and being cast as racial spokespeople as they navigate the school system? And what academic and psychological toll does it take on them? Weigh in and let us know if you or your children have ever had an experience like this one.
Read more at the Washington Post.