Elementary school students in Florida were sent home with permission slips to learn the lyrics to James Weldon Johnson’s “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” according to ClickOrlando. The slip opened some conversation not only about the drama surrounding Florida’s anti-critical race theory legislation but also about why CRT regulations have been narrowly tailored to exile Black history.
A Marion County Schools spokesperson said students in grades 3-5 would be participating in learning the song to recite in a performance for Black History Month, says the report. The activity was labeled as an extra-curricular acitivty allowing students to “participate in presenting historical facts regarding African-Americans and/or singing the Black National Anthem.”
According to school board member Eric Cummings, the lyrics “We have come treading our path through the slaughtered” may have left some parents (more than likely anti-CRT ones) with unease. The permission slip was meant to honor the wish of critical-race-Karens: allowing them to have a say in what their kids learn.
However, some parents were more disturbed by the fact that only something regarding Black history was met with a permission slip as opposed to other points of history.
Read more from Fox 35 Orlando:
Amanda, whose daughter is in the third grade, questioned why she did not receive a permission slip for her daughter to learn about the Holocaust.
“I know they’re different, but it’s history. I would assume they’d send a form for that too, but nothing at all,” she said.
“Honestly, nothing in that song was a red flag,” Amanda said when asked about the line the school had concerns about, adding that she looked over the entire song’s lyrics.
“Nothing made me feel uncomfortable. Nothing made me think, ‘This is too much for my daughter.’ I mean, there’s things that are worse on the radio, and on YouTube and on TikTok,” she said.
On Facebook, another parent said she didn’t receive permission slips for lessons taught during Hispanic Heritage Month or Women’s History Month and because of that, the permission slip over the Black National Anthem “didn’t sit right with her.”
For both the watching of “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas” and the slavery documentary in middle school, I was given the option to leave the classroom or auditorium if I did not want to participate. To be fair, we barely learned any real Black history beyond MLK and Rosa Parks. However, both events were considered potentially triggering to maybe the students who had Holocaust survivors in their family or people like me who would burst into tears at the sight of a lynching.
The movement against teaching race and racism has seemingly weighed one historical tragedy against the others - all of which students are bound to learn in class. It’s honestly not about what is less appropriate for students but instead what makes white parents feel better.