Wednesday, October 03, 2007


When I heard of nooses hanging from the tree at the Jena high school, I thought, "No way that could happen in 2007." Surely the racists and bigots (I want to be inclusive here) know better than to come out from under their rocks where they hide.

Then I saw THIS:
5th Grade History Lesson Uses N-word as Crossword Puzzle Answer. (HT Tank)

Essentially a 5th grade teacher got a crossword puzzle from, to supplement their reading of Sounder, "a book is commonly used in classrooms nationwide to illustrate racial bigotry and sharecropping hardships through the eyes of a young black boy."

I don't know anything about the book, but I know about 17 across: "An insulting way to label a black person."

Oh yeah, that's exactly what you're thinking it is.

That's a word my kids have never heard, to the best of my knowledge, and one I'd love to shield them from forever, albeit unlikely.

The principal of the school said that the teacher "justifies it as a way to teach about how it was at that time."

Hey, I have a hatred for historical revisionism and I don't think our country should ever forget its past, lest it be susceptible to repeat it. In the same way, I don't think the Fatherland should ever forget the Holocaust.

However, that doesn't mean I'd advocate the Kinder drawing Swastikas to get a feel for what it was like for the Jewish people back in the day. There are certain things culturally off limits and I don't think it's a bold statement to say the line was heinously sailed over.

Sure, the teacher apologized, but that there could be any attempt at self-justification shocks me. I'm not necessarily saying a job should be lost, but I've seen it for less, so it wouldn't surprise me.


At 03 October, 2007 18:31, Anonymous steph said...

Although I find it inappropriate to list the N-word in such an educational crossword puzzle, I hate Hate HATE that schools are banning books like Sounder (which is a classic, btw) for use of the word and any other word that some ambiguous entity deems 'bad'.

I 100%, whole-heartedly, and emphatically HATE the n-word, and I will separate myself from anyone who uses that word... recreationally. But nearing the top of the list of things that really upset me is censorship. Censorship is a stepping stone toward loss of liberty, and that's not even touching on the frustration of knowing that some kids will never read Sounder or Huck Finn.

I think I feel a blog post coming on...

At 03 October, 2007 18:51, Blogger GUNNY said...

I think Steph feels the tension as well.

My question would have to do with the age-appropriateness of these things as well.

I remember going to Dachau as a teenager and being quite impacted by the event, but much younger it might have been too much to handle.


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