Anyone trying to claim that educational institutions across the U.S. are just innocently bungling the teaching of America’s history of slavery rather than deliberately continuing a centuries-long practice of justifying and diminishing the inhumane treatment of enslaved Black people in this country are, to put it plainly, pissing on our faces and telling us it’s raining.
For one thing, the stories of “bungled” school lessons are all too frequent—not to mention all too similar in the perspective they encourage impressionable children to take on slavery. The latest news of such a lesson comes out of Waxhaw Elementary School in Union County, North Carolina (a county that is home to a 40-foot Confederate monument).
As Fox 46 in Charlotte first reported, following Black History Month, fourth-graders at the elementary school were tasked with making up tweets from the point-of-view of a historical figure “that had different roles and perspectives on the Civil War.”
In response, the kids went all out in creating fake tweets that celebrate slavery—complete with hashtags reading #SlaveryforLife, #KeepSlavery and #SlaveryForever.
Those messages are disturbing enough, but it’s the adults who led a class of learning students down this path who deserve the scrutiny, and frankly, shame.
Because the teachers then put these charming pro-slavery messages up on the classroom wall and proudly shared a photo of them on the school’s Facebook page.
From FOX 46:
One student wrote on paper the handle “@dontStopSlavery” and said, “you may not agree with slavery but I do and I’m honest about it. #Slaveryforlife” Another student chose the name “Confederate4life” and wrote, “why do we need to leave the county. We can stay and our slaves! #SLAVERYFOREVER.”
The “tweets,” which were taped to the classroom wall, do not mention any historical figure by name. None of the ones highlighted on the school’s Facebook page were anti-slavery. FOX 46 asked which historical figures the “tweets” were supposed to represent but did not get an answer.
A spokesperson for Union County Public Schools, to which the elementary institution belongs, claims the assignment was meant to “help students analyze events from the Pre-Colonial period to Reconstruction through the perspective of a key historical figure.”
Somehow though, this supposedly educational exercise did not result in any anti-slavery messages being highlighted, and the abhorrent pro-slavery historical figures who the students were apparently encouraged to channel didn’t seem to matter that much in the final product. Whatever the claims about the stated objective, the result of this assignment is clear and speaks volumes: young children celebrating slavery.
“The tweet that the students were most proud of is indicative of the thoughts, values, and oppressive practices of the families and leadership here in Union County,” accurately clocked Selina Campbell of the Union County NAACP, in a statement about the incident.
“This type of assignment is unacceptable, and we apologize for offending parents, staff, students and members of our community,” added UCPS spokesperson, Tahira Stalberte.
Meanwhile, UCPS Superintendent Andrew G. Houlihan, in response to this evidence of teachers outrageously inculcating racist thought into children, says the school District is “actively developing training sessions for all employees to address diversity, equity and inclusion.”
Like I said, pissing on our faces, and telling us it’s raining.