Open thread for night owls. Kids are being taught a sanitized, sentimentalized version of slavery

Open thread for night owls. Kids are being taught a sanitized, sentimentalized version of slavery

Melinda D. Anderson at The Atlantic writes—What Kids Are Really Learning About Slavery. A new report finds that the topic is mistaught and often sentimentalized—and students are alarmingly misinformed as a result:

A class of middle-schoolers in Charlotte, North Carolina, was asked to cite “four reasons why Africans made good slaves.” Nine third-grade teachers in suburban Atlanta assigned math word problems about slavery and beatings. A high school in the Los Angeles-area reenacted a slave ship—with students’ lying on the dark classroom floor, wrists taped, as staff play the role of slave ship captains. And for a lesson on Colonial America, fifth-graders at a school in northern New Jersey had to create posters advertising slave auctions.

School assignments on slavery routinely draw national headlines and scorn. Yet beyond the outraged parents and school-district apologies lies a complex and entrenched set of education challenges. A new report released by the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance project points to the widespread failure to accurately teach the hard, and nuanced, history of American slavery and enslaved people. Collectively, the report finds that slavery is mistaught, mischaracterized, sanitized, and sentimentalized—leaving students poorly educated, and contemporary issues of race and racism misunderstood.

In what it describes as the first analysis of its kind, Teaching Tolerance conducted online surveys of 1,000 American high-school seniors and more than 1,700 social-studies teachers across the country. The group also reviewed 10 commonly used U.S.-history textbooks, and examined 15 sets of state standards to assess what students know, what educators teach, what publishers include, and what standards require vis-à-vis slavery.

Among 12th-graders, only 8 percent could identify slavery as the cause of the Civil War. Fewer than one-third (32 percent) correctly named the 13th Amendment as the formal end of U.S. slavery, with a slightly higher share (35 percent) choosing the Emancipation Proclamation. And fewer than half (46 percent) identified the “Middle Passage” as the transport of enslaved Africans across the Atlantic Ocean to North America. […]

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QUOTATION

“You must resist the common urge toward the comforting narrative of divine law, toward fairy tales that imply some irrepressible justice. The enslaved were not bricks in your road, and their lives were not chapters in your redemptive history. They were people turned to fuel for the American machine. Enslavement was not destined to end, and it is wrong to claim our present circumstance—no matter how improved—as the redemption for the lives of people who never asked for the posthumous, untouchable glory of dying for their children. Our triumphs can never compensate for this.” 
               ~Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me (2015)
 

TWEET OF THE DAY

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Wages are rising, but they were rising before too. And they aren’t picking up — if anything growth has slowed a bit lately. pic.twitter.com/g1x1SHk1py

— Ben Casselman (@bencasselman) January 31, 2018

BLAST FROM THE PAST

On this date at Daily Kos in 2011—O’Keefe copycat who targeted Planned Parenthood faceplants out of the gate:

So another weirdo wingnut James O’Keefe wannabe has released a hoax video targeting “the left.” This one was created by an anti-choice activist named Lila Rose and it targets Planned Parenthood. Rose, who collaborated with O’Keefe in the past, aimed to produce a carbon copy of his ACORN/pimp hoax videos, this time substituting ACORN with Planned Parenthood and O’Keefe’s pimp outfit with actors and actresses claiming to be part of an underage prostitution ring.

Rose is just now releasing the videos in which she claims that Planned Parenthood conspired to cover up the prostitution ring. She only leaves out one detail: Planned Parenthood officials, who instantly realized they were probably being punked, nonetheless went to federal authorities on the off-chance that Rose’s actors weren’t part of another O’Keefe style hoax.

On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: A virtual blizzard of BS this morning! Greg Dworkin and Armando help shovel. Trump brags about breaking history again. Nunes fakes his way through this “memo” thing. Sanctions ignored. Constitutional crises everywhere. And how did Hope Hicks do it?

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