Let’s Racially "Pretend"

7 February 2017

Good morning everyone!

We are all blessed with another beautiful day of gaining blessing and gaining knowledge! Although it is a little gloomy and clouded over outside and the weather is speaking of severe storms coming our way this afternoon, my heart is full and inspired this morning. Today I came across a story on the internet that takes place in the state of Virginia. It happened back in January this year. January 26th to be exact and takes place at Shelburne Middle School where a mom reported that her son came home from school, shockingly telling her that during his sixth grade class, his teacher asked black students to pretend as if they were slaves during the Louisiana Purchase. She even went further, asking the students to pick cotton and dig for coal, receiving refusal from several of the students.

“He said, ‘Mom, I didn’t know what to do,'” Derozen said to WHSV. “I wanted to walk out of the class, but I didn’t want to get in trouble.”
Source: Rodriguez, Mathew. “Virginia Mom Says Teacher Forced Son to Act Like A Slave for a History Lesson”. Identities.Mic. https://mic.com/articles/166753/virginia-mom-says-teacher-forced-son-to-act-like-a-slave-for-a-history-lesson#.v5KcFsUPv

The teacher also asked the white students to join in on this pretend game and play noblemen. Derozen, the student’s mother contacted the school and said the principal allegedly apologized. The allegations didn’t end there. Apparently the teacher confronted her class directly about the accusations. Once Derozen’s son walked into the class, the teacher displayed an image from the miniseries Roots. She then proceeded to ask the students the question of whether it would make sense for a white actor to play a slave.

“She still wanted to make herself right,” Derozen said. “You can’t right your wrong.”
Source: Rodriguez, Mathew. “Virginia Mom Says Teacher Forced Son to Act Like A Slave for a History Lesson”. Identities.Mic. https://mic.com/articles/166753/virginia-mom-says-teacher-forced-son-to-act-like-a-slave-for-a-history-lesson#.v5KcFsUPv

Derozen originally planned to meet and speak with her son’s teacher, but has now reached out to the NAACP and encouraged other parents to do the same. It has not been determined whether she has actually contacted them. Staunton City School’s superintendent has said that this matter would be handled “swiftly and fairly”. They have posted statements on the school website concerning the situation.
“I want to emphasize that in no way does Staunton City Schools condone or encourage instruction that deliberately singles out a person or group because of race and subjects them to disparagement or humiliation.”

I saw nothing in his story actually expressing whether she was fired of whether she was even suspended for her behavior. I found it interesting how she even tried to defend herself in the situation by acting as if she was still encouraging her students to think on racial roles and whether it made sense for a white person to play a slave. Of course it wouldn’t make sense, because they were the en-slavers and have never had to be put into that situation that they created. The entire moment is racist and should have never been apart of the school curriculum in the first place for sixth grade students to act out the Louisiana Purchase as slaves. Was it a drama class? Was it even necessary for them to act out anything? Teaching the lesson about it the Louisiana Purchase as a part of history would have been just fine. To carry it this far deserves harsh backlash and punishment on her part as an educator to these students. I’m realizing that at this point in time, a lot more of this type of behavior is occurring and at times even being condoned with little to no punishment. Although it hasn’t said whether she was let off of the hook or that she did not exactly receive repercussions, in her head she is probably still thinking that she did nothing wrong and actually taught them something. Educators such as this do not belong in anyone’s institution.

To read more about this story, make sure you go to the link.

Everyone have a great day and don’t forget…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s