Agreed, it’s not just a Southern thing

I mentioned how my Yankee education didn’t praise slavery, it just kind of ignored it. But someone on Twitter pointed out that we get some egregious racism in the Northern schools, too.

The investigation began after the assignment on Feb. 1 presented sixth-grade students at Patrick Marsh Middle School [in Madison, Wisconsin] with the following scenario: “A slave stands before you. This slave has disrespected his master by telling him, ‘You are not my master!’ How will you punish this slave?”

The report said the assignment also “included other offensive questions.”

Please don’t ask students to imagine themselves in the role of slavemasters. Also — do I need to say this? — don’t ask them to role play being a Nazi concentration camp guard. It’s asking them to empathize, even temporarily, with horrible human beings.


  1. JoeBuddha says

    I’d try to contact the local underground railroad and smuggle him out of there. That’d make a great answer.

  2. birgerjohansson says

    These days, we have Ayn Rand and the Koch -sponsored contempt for the plebes. Jeff Bezos shows you do not need literal slavery and chains to reduce the underdogs to dehumanised tools.

  3. strangerinastrangeland says

    And the correct answer is “Not at all. You tell the human being in front of you that they are correct, that they are not a slave and that neither you nor anyone else is their master.”

    Who came up with such crap and do they still have a job? (I can’t get to the linked news article because it does not let people from the EU see it.)

  4. blf says

    @3, “I can’t get to the linked news article because it does not let people from the EU see it.”

    Yep! (Actually, probably, it doesn’t allow access to sites IP-geolocated in the EU.) Which proves that site’s technical and legal staff are complete morons. The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) does not apply to people in the EU, it applies to people who reside in the EU regardless of their current location (EU or not). This means that, as an EU resident, if I were in the States, I must still be protected by the GDPR — which that site’s ban suggests I am not. Or, reversing the situation, if I resided in the States, and was visiting an EU country, I should not be blocked because of the GDPR, despite that site’s borked “understanding”. (That site is not the only site which has a botched “understanding” of the GDPR.)

    What makes it even sillier is there are various technical tricks around the flawed understanding, plus the overall dubiousness of (probably) relying on IP-geolocation to pseudo-enforce an (incorrect) ban.

  5. davidc1 says

    Don’t know if this is anything to do with it ,but what about the Blue Eyes ,Brown Eyes experiment by
    Jane Elliot ? I know it’s not the same as slavery and Nazis .
    Then there was that infamous experiment in the 1960s ,I think it was .
    Don’t really know what point i am trying to make ,I am in a lot of pain because of my RA ,so I don’t
    think it would take much to turn me into a slave owner /prison guard /whatever.

    Off topic ,but want to hear something ironic ? Just started A New Europe by that nice Michael Palin ,it was written in 2008 ,and he says in the introduction “This is The Year Putin Steps Down “,HAHAHA .

  6. says

    #3: The answer: this was part of an exercise put together by 3 teachers. All 3 were put on paid leave for the remainder of their contracted year, and then not rehired the following year. So they were basically fired.

  7. NitricAcid says

    I have an old geography book, printed in Alberta (Canada) in the 1930s for use in junior high or elementary school. It specifically points out that Europe has had a much greater effect on world history than its size would suggest, and that’s because it’s home to the white race, which “has proven itself to be superior in all ways to the other races.” That’s the book my grandparents would have used at school.

    So definitely not limited to the South.

    I’m sure modern textbooks in Alberta don’t say stuff like that, but I also suspect that the UCP wants to re-introduce it to the curriculum.

  8. DLC says

    The question is framed in the context of The Code of Hammurabi, and asks the student to select which of the answers in the multiple choice is correct, in the context of that code. (The proper answer in that context btw is you cut off his ear.) This is not a question for middle-schoolers. As a matter of fact, it probably shouldn’t be asked outside of a comparative ethics or history course, and even then, I would expect a follow-up along the lines of : (Essay) Why is this code immoral in more modern times? explain why, in two paragraphs. But as part of a multiple choice exam given to children ? It’s not just wrong, but stupid-wrong.