Tuesday, March 27, 2007

When the Isms Really Need to Sit Down and Talk

The blog Prometheus 6 led me to this story in the LA Times about two teachers fired for supporting students who wanted to read from Marilyn Nelson's A Wreath for Emmett Till at an assembly honoring Black History Month:

Teachers and students said the administration suggested that the Till case — in which the teenager was beaten to death in Mississippi after allegedly whistling at a white woman — was not fitting for a program intended to be celebratory, and that Till's actions could be viewed as sexual harassment.

So I guess he was asking for it. But, wait, what was she wearing?


Anonymous said...

I don't know whether to laugh or cry. This is so *status quo* in many American schools. Keep the students sheltered from the real events of the past and present, so as to not make them question the U.S. and its policies.

This is no different than the showlace experiment, used to sheld students from the true emotional and social and political issues of that time.

What too about the U.S's historical treatment of Native Americans? Women? The victims of Hurricane Katrina? The Iraqis? The list is far longer.

Maybe the justification is that teachers can't make the students feel bad, and possibly hurt their self-esteem. Au shucks...give then all "A's" while you're at it too. Maybe it makes for stronger citizens.

And by flipping blame to Emmett Till himself by implying that his death was deserved because he apparently whistled, thus causing "sexual abuse", is beyond ugly.

Hey students out there...U.S. history is filled with examples of overt brutality. Both past and present. At the rate and direction we're going, the future may be no different.

We need to thoroughly teach these examples of history in order to bring awareness and knowledge to the students, in order that we have some hope for the future of this country.

M (happily homeschooling)

Angela said...



Kelly Fineman said...

Color me perplexed. What is Black History month if you can't talk about the bad stuff? Because seriously, even MLK and Harriett Tubman were oppressed.

And Marilyn Nelson's book is a work of staggering genius.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant line, Roger.

rindawriter said...

This sort of thing distresses me beyond measure to think about. I felt sick reading about it.