Monday, February 11, 2008

honoring white men in honor of black history month

now, i hate to make fun of the kids. well ... okay, that's not entirely true. but i do feel a little bad sometimes because most of them are trying and it's not their fault that they aren't getting a proper education. so the other day we did something for black history month in which the kids had to "brainstorm" all the african americans they admire (brief pause to define the word admire) and then draw a picture of said african american and then write a couple of sentences about them. pretty good, right? and i made a rule that you couldn't pick martin luther king, since we just did a whole bunch of stuff on him for martin luther king day. the brainstorming went a little something like this:
me: ok kids! who can name some african americans they admire?
kids: martin luther king!
me: i already said we aren't picking martin luther king.
kids: george washington!
me: george washinton wasn't black. does anyone know what george washington's job was?
kids: he was president!
me: have we had a black president yet?
kids: no!
me: so can george washington be black? (see how i am teaching them the powers of deduction and reasoning? this is a logic proof waiting to happen)
kids: i guess not
me: ok, name someone else
(and then we have some kids shout out legitimate answers like harriet tubman and rosa parks and langston hughes and barack obama)
kids: thomas jefferson!
me: again, not black. what was thomas jefferson's job?
kids: he was president!
me: have we ever had a black president?
kids: no!
me: so? can thomas jefferson be black then?
kids: no.
me: okay, who else?
kids: abraham lincoln!
me: what was abraham lincoln's job?
kids: he freed slaves!
me: and?
kids: he was president!
me: remember what i said about us not having a black president yet?
kids: oh ... yeah.
me: who else?
kids: martin luther king!
me: we're not talking about martin luther king anymore!
i think you can see where this is going. but finally they all picked an african american to write about and they all drew pictures and i made a fabulous display and everything was peachy keen. then friday we played black history month trivia in which i asked the kids trivia questions about famous black people. duh, obvious from the title of the game. so we play and they do pretty well. one girl actually knew who thurgood marshall was. i was very impressed.
anyway. at the end of the game one girl comes up to me and asks, "ms. dewey decimal, how come you didn't have any questions about abraham lincoln? he's a famous african american."
"what does abraham lincoln look like?" i ask. "picture him! he's got the beard and the tall hat! he is a white man! the whitest white man!"


*Bitch Cakes* said...

I am surprised there were no shout outs for rappers and sports people.

Miss Dewey Decimal said...

there was a mention of michael jordon and then some guys that i assume are on the NY Giants but i really have no idea. and then someone mentioned michael jackson and my assistant and i exchanged glances and chuckled about whether or not he's black. oh, and then the kid who hates hoboes mentioned ray charles, because he is doing an oral report on ray charles and will be dressing up as ray. he does a great impression of jamie fox's impression of ray charles.

rowan said...

how funny that less than a year later, we now do have a black president.