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Tennessee Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Over School’s ‘Let’s Make a Slave’ Assignment Based on Willie Lynch Speech

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You know how I know the Republican war on Critical Race Theory is all about protecting white fragility and not about teaching history in a way that is accurate, responsible and non-divisive? If that was really the concern of these GOPropagandists, they would have the same energy for all of these “educators” that think their Dollar Store slavery simulations make for good classroom activities. They would be as ready to crack down on these ill-advised “I heart Middle Passage cosplay” assignments that plague American classrooms every Black History Month as they are any curriculum that gives their little white feelings the heebee jeebees. Yet, when a teacher decides they want to teach slavery yoga to kindergartners or have students pretend to be slaves and write letters about their “journey” to their fake families back in Africa, you don’t hear a peep out of the GOPearl-clutching-for-whiteness party.

On Monday, a Tennessee federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed against Metro Nashville Public Schools over an “educator” who, during Black History Month last year, gave students an assignment titled “Let’s Make a Slave” using the Willie Lynch Letter as a source of information. Yes, that Willie Lynch letter from that Willie Lynch speech—the one purported to date back to the 18th century and serve as a how-to manual for keeping enslaved people broken and in line (or what Kanye West calls a “choice”). It’s the speech that was supposedly “discovered” in the ’70s, surfaced on the internet in the ’90s and has since become a passage in the hotep bible used by Umar-itarians across the country. It’s also one that no historian has been able to authenticate.

USA Today reports that the lawsuit was filed by the family of a Black student who was alleged to have had a humiliating and dehumanizing experience due to the nature of the assignment.


From USA Today:

A Nashville, Tennessee, family filed the lawsuit on behalf of their son, referred to as “John Doe,” who has autism.

The family claimed the “wild graphic and inappropriate” content caused physical and emotional harm to their child, who was in fourth grade at the time.

U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger dismissed the case Monday, saying there isn’t evidence of “actionable harassment” or that the school district was “deliberately indifferent” to complaints of racial discrimination or harassment.

But Trauger did acknowledge the lesson “may have been ill-advised and developmentally inappropriate for the age group,” according to court documents

The lawsuit claimed that the student suffered repeated acts of racial harassment by adults and peers. In addition, the lawsuit claimed the school district had knowledge of the harassment, including teasing by the student’s classmates, and the “racially hostile educational environment” but were indifferent to the circumstances.

“The complaint alleges that the lesson predictably ‘spilled onto the playground’ … and that the other students ‘joked’ about the Black History lesson, telling Doe, ‘You are my slave,’” Trauger wrote in her ruling. But the complaint didn’t “suggest how frequently or for what length of time this teasing occurred.”

Legal precedent set by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals that the federal judge cited in the ruling requires such teasing be “systematic” or “pervasive” in order to be deemed harassment. It also is required to “[mean] something more than just juvenile behavior among students, even behavior that is antagonistic, non-consensual, and crass.”

First of all, it can not be emphasized enough that THIS SHIT IS INAPPROPRIATE FOR EVERY FUCKING AGE GROUP! The fact that the judge appeared to believe the assignment was fucked up because it was given to fourth graders and not because it was inherently racist, insensitive and based on ahistorical nonsense is very telling.

Trauger even acknowledged in her ruling that “the entire incident was extremely traumatic for a sensitive child with autism,” but that didn’t matter because it being traumatic doesn’t mean the “educational content constituted actionable harassment on the basis of race.”



As USA Today noted, just last month, Tennessee lawmakers passed a bill that will effectively ban CRT from being taught in public schools. One can only wonder if those lawmakers are aware that a speech was used in a lesson plan that is likely as fake as the “I freed a thousand slaves” quote attributed to Harriet Tubman. (That quote is also highlighted in hotep bibles across the nation.) I wonder if these assignments are even on the radar of those who seek to ban what they consider racially divisive curricula into oblivion. Where are the bills to ban this level of classroom caucasity?


I wonder why it’s never “divisive” when Black students are being harmed.