In this post-Obama America, attempting to teach black students about slave auctions by having them take part in an instructional exercise could get you called racist and even sacked from your job, according to a report from Caged Bird magazine vouched for by Fox News:
On Thursday, March 9, a white Howard University professor opened Frederick Douglass’ slave narrative with the intention of teaching the class about the hardships of slavery, and turned his classroom into a mock slave auction …
The teacher was discussing how slaves were auctioned and examined before the sale. Professor A approached one of the two Black boys in the classroom, singling him out, and told him to stand up because he looked “healthy” and “like the type of slave buyers would look for.” Professor A began to examine John the way he would have if John had been up for auction. The class watched with horror as their white professor evaluated a young, Black boy as if he were a piece of property. A couple of students called out to the professor, asking him to stop.
The teacher ignored their complaints, noting that he too was uncomfortable.
“I’m white,” he remarked, the point being that the importance of accurately conveying to his students what slave auctions were like superseded his temporary bout of uncomfortableness.
Note that during my school years way back in the 90s, before America fell into the gutter, I recall participating in similar exercises. While somewhat crude, they helped us better understand the historical truths being taught to us.
But according to Caged Bird, holding such an exercise in the contemporary age translates to the racist and bigoted objectification of black people.
“That was his excuse,” the magazine’s editorial board wrote, referencing what the professor had said. “As if he were the one being objectified in front of the class. As if he were the Black body on display for others to judge the worth of. As if he was being forced to remember the gross mistreatment of his enslaved ancestors who were emasculated and oppressed by privilege and authority. ”
“Professor A told John that whenever he felt uncomfortable, John could say stop. But it has been a common thread throughout history that Black men and women have always had the literal choice to stop standing in the face of oppression, but we just… can’t. It’s more than just choosing to stop. It’s a mixture of history, oppression, psychological trauma left from slavery and our human need for survival that clashes with thoughts of resistance that impairs us.”
“Personally I’m upset because I feel as though you can’t really have a mock slave auction at an HBCU, especially a professor of a different race,” one student, Corey Jefferson, reportedly added. “I feel a little bit disrespected by that because I feel like we are past that. That was years before this and now we are at a different age. It doesn’t feel right.”
Question, though: How do you get past something if you’re too sensitive to even acknowledge that it happened in the first place … ?
Regardless, the unnamed professor has since been placed under investigation and may ultimately wind up losing his job over this.
H/T BizPac Review