Here’s a question: Where are all of the anti-critical race theory warriors when school lessons make Black students uncomfortable?
Because that’s what all of this anti-CRT hoopla is supposed to be about, right? Legislators are falsely claiming that CRT teaches that certain races are inferior to others or that white people, at the individual level, are inherently racist. So, Republicans trot out these anecdotal instances where educators separate their classrooms by race and/or single out white students to tell them they experience white privilege (which is true, but whatever) and they cite these instances as reasons to ban what they think CRT is from the classroom.
One can only wonder why they never have the same energy when time and time again, teachers trivialize the institution of slavery through class activities where students are instructed to reenact Black oppression.
Where are all these concerned legislators when mock slavery auctions are happening in the classroom?
According to The News & Observer, a mock slave auction recently took place at J.S. Waters School in Goldston, North Carolina. During the “lesson,” Black students were reportedly “sold” by white students presumably to demonstrate what went on during the trans-Atlantic slave trade. But why though? While Black history in America is often whitewashed and satirized for Caucasian consumption, one fact is so universally recognized as indisputable: Black people were slaves and white people owned them. No one needs a slavery show and tell to be educated on that much.
“Actions such as these, they just do not reflect who we are as a school system,” Chatham County Schools Superintendent Anthony Jackson said in a statement apologizing for the incident Monday. “And I say, unapologetically, will not be tolerated in the school system.”
“I want to do something that needs to be done here publicly. I want to offer an apology,” Jackson continued during a school board meeting that was packed with parents, students and activists. “An apology to every single student who has ever felt unsafe while in our care, to every student who has ever felt demeaned, disrespected or marginalized because of their race, ethnicity, sex, gender, religion or disability. In Chatham County schools, we proudly boast that diversity is our strength, and moving forward it will be our intentional focus to ensure that this celebration includes everyone. Moving forward, my personal commitment to you, is that we will do better.”
The fallout for the assignment came after a parent of a student at the school, Ashley Palmer called the activity out in a Facebook post earlier this month.
“Our son experienced a slave auction by his classmates and when he opened up we were made aware that this type of stuff seems to be the norm so much that he didn’t think it was worth sharing,” she wrote. “His friend ‘went for $350’ and another student was the Slavemaster because he ‘knew how to handle them.’ We even have a video of students harmonizing the N-word. Since when were children so blatantly racist?”
I mean, the kids are out here having slave auctions on Snapchat, sis’—that ship been sailed.
Anyway, according to a press release by Chatham Organizing For Racial Equity (CORE), the assignment took place “in the presence of staff and faculty, and while being filmed.”
The News & Observer reported that since the incident, the superintendent has updated school policies to ensure this kind of thing doesn’t happen again. And that’s all that is really ever dome when Black students are demoralized. School policies change and maybe someone gets fired or suspended. But you won’t see the GOP get involved. You won’t see legislators falsely attributing these antics to CRT or scrambling to pass laws to protect Black feelings. That kind of response is reserved for the white and fragile. These actions, however, are blatant displays of white racism, and that’s why conservative white America would rather ignore them. They just don’t fit the narrative.