If I’ve learned anything during my time in this job, it’s that white people really be fucking trying it. Take for instance a school in Dallas, Texas, where a teacher listed Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse as a possible hero for students to write about.
NBC News reports that the Dallas Independent School district issued an apology for the “unapproved assignment.” The assignment tasked students with writing an essay about a possible “hero for the modern age,” and listed Rittenhouse alongside names such as Gandhi, Cesar Chavez, George Floyd and Malcolm X. Apparently, killing those fighting against systemic oppression is just as heroic as fighting systemic oppression.
Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old from Illinois, was arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree murder for the fatal shooting of Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber during a protest over the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis.
Kristian Hernandez told KXAS that her younger brother, a student of Warren Travis White High School in Dallas, shared details of the assignment with their family and they were all stunned by Rittenhouse’s inclusion.
“The juxtaposition of George Floyd’s name with Kyle’s name was just astounding,” she told KXAS. “The value of Black lives are not up for debate and that’s what it felt like this was sort of getting at — by way of the names that were included.”
The assignment was apparently made by a teacher who has only been with the district for three years. An early version of the assignment somehow managed to misspell Malcolm X’s name, so clearly they’ve got a solid grip on things. The assignment was removed from the student portal, and students are not expected to complete the essay. The district issued a statement apologizing for the assignment.
“Racial equity is a top priority in Dallas ISD, and we remain committed to providing a robust teaching environment where all students can learn,” the district’s apology read. “It is important that we continue to be culturally sensitive to our diverse populations and provide a space of respect and value.”
For Hernandez, it’s not enough to simply punish the teacher responsible and move on. “I don’t want to treat this as an isolated incident, but I want to examine structurally what is not happening to where this harm was already done,” Hernandez told KXAS.