This Week in Racism

What to Do if Your Child’s Homework Involves the Phrase ‘Let’s Make a Slave’

It’s an embarrassment of riches in our weekly roundup of the world’s most preventable disease!

Photo: Save As/Medium; Source: Getty Images

Death and taxes used to be the only two certainties in life. But no matter how much progress it feels like we’re making sometimes, the sad fact is you can probably slide racism into that list. Are we in a moment of uprising that feels like it has the potential to create real, systemic change? Yes. Do people and organizations still show their ass on a daily basis? Oh, most definitely. And to keep tabs on all that ass-showing, we created a weekly racism surveillance machine. If you already get our newsletter, Minority Report, you’ve likely seen this — but now the rest of the internet can get a taste.

🗑 Okay, it’s officially time to rename February “(That’s Not How You Teach) Black History Month”

A couple of weeks ago we brought you the story of a college professor who thought writing Tupac’s backronym for the N-bomb and asking students to pretend to be confined to a slave ship was Good Pedagogy. As it turns out, she was far from the only educator who showed such sterling instincts. Mississippi eighth graders were asked to write letters from the vantage point of an enslaved person; in Florida, a high school teacher told students that White people didn’t whip enslaved people; and in previous years, bad ideas ranged from mock slave auctions in classrooms to “Let’s Make a Slave” essay assignments. Now, look, we may not have gotten advanced degrees in education, but we’re gonna go ahead and say JUST STOP TRYING TO “IMMERSE” STUDENTS IN SLAVERY. No good can come of it — actually, forget that. It might just be a public service. If teachers this boneheaded were just talking about multiplication tables and geology, how else would we know they had no right being anywhere near our kids? (USA Today)

🗑 So a few White ladies love raccoons — what’s the big deal?

Meanwhile, over in Missouri, a group of teachers ably demonstrated that religious schools are no exception. During a game of “human Scrabble” — what could go wrong? — five faculty members from St. Charles County’s Christian School District posed for a photo holding tiles that spelled out the word COONS. Only one of the five White women wasn’t wearing a mask, so we can’t vouch for the fact that the other four shared her shit-eating grin, but we can vouch for the fact that students were pissed; parents were pissed; the school’s basketball coach decided to smooth things over by telling everyone they were overreacting. “Everybody in the world makes mistakes, everybody in the world has faults and this is just a little fault that we’ve had,” said John Smith, which we feel compelled to point out is the boiled chicken of names. “This is not our school. I truly believe that they did not know what they were posting.” We feel compelled to ask: If they didn’t know what they were posting, do we really want them teaching our children spelling and English? Get back to us on that one. (KSDK NBC 5)

🗑 Welcome back to another edition of “Racist Boomer Facebook Post Countdown”!

The universe of Old People Facebook Memes is vast and varied, friends. You’ve got your “what’s up with these kids today” chain letters; you’ve got your “remember life before erectile dysfunction?” cartoon knee-slappers; and perhaps most popular and widespread, you’ve got your “political correctness run amok!” bilgewater filtered through decades of Rush Limbaugh and Fox News conditioning. Recently, Missouri businessman William Brown — what the hell is going on Missouri, anyway? — opted for door three. “Can we still order Black coffee???” his post began, with all the originality of an open-mic comic going off on airplane food. “Are Brownies being taken off the shelf? Is White Castle changing [its] name?” Stop, Bill, you’re killing us! Our sides! Brown went on to make similarly hilarious musings about Cracker Barrel, Chinese checkers, “Indian burns,” and Italian sausages, before ending on the capper, “How far do ya want to go with this foolishness?” We don’t know how the town of Lee’s Summit works, but we do know that Brown is a prominent supporter of the local school district, which seems to leave said school district with a question they need to answer: How far do ya want to go with this foolishness? (Kansas City Star)

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