Doing its part to contribute to the racial divisiveness ripping through the country, radical, social justice educator group Rethinking Schools has posted on its website an article that instructs how to teach the United States history of “white men killing unarmed black boys and men with little to no consequence.”
Renee Watson’s article “Happening Yesterday, Happened Tomorrow,” is subtitled, “Teaching the ongoing murders of black men.” Rethinking Schools’ website states the piece is “especially urgent given the decision of the grand jury not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, and the national protests in response.”
Watson’s article, the left wing group states, “will appear in the winter 2014-15 issue of Rethinking Schools, but we wanted to have it available for teachers right away.”
…I taught the murders of Sean Bell and Amadou Diallo, using Willie Perdomo’s “Forty-One Bullets off Broadway” as the model poem (“From Pain to Poetry,” fall 2008). But then there was Trayvon Martin, then Jordan Davis, then Michael Brown, and the list keeps growing…
After the murder of Trayvon Martin, I taught a version of From Pain to Poetry. I wanted to use Perdomo’s poem again— it is a strong example of how writers use facts and their imaginations to tell a story. I wanted to add a research component because my students needed to develop researching and note-taking skills and, just as important, I needed to show students that racial profiling and police brutality are not new.
Watson provides a dialogue she had with students in her class during a poetry project to instruct teachers in the methods of teaching black students about the “black martyrs,” and how black males are nothing but victims of racial injustice:
I asked someone to give a very brief account of what they knew about Martin.
“He was shot by a neighborhood watch guy,” a student answered.
“He was shot because he was wearing a hoodie,” another student shouted.
I asked the class to hold off on adding more.
“Based on what you know about Trayvon and Oscar, why do you think these other men are on the board?”
“Because they got shot, too?” Jason suggested.
“Yes. They were all murdered,” I told the class. “Looking at these photos, what do you notice? What do they have in common?”
Lakeesha noticed that they were all black.
“And they’re all men,” Sami added.
“And they probably didn’t deserve to die,” Jason blurted out.
I asked him, “What makes you say that?”
He considered what he knew about Martin and Grant. “They didn’t even have weapons on them when they got shot. The others probably didn’t, either.”
When her students completed their social justice poems about the deaths of the black men, Watson urged them to share them with friends on social media.
“’Remember the reasons you said it was important for poems like these to be written,’” she told her class. “’How can you share your poem to get it out into the world?’”
“We made a quick list that included posting the poem on Facebook, tweeting a line or phrase from the poem, recording the poem and posting the video, reading the poem to a teacher, parent, or friend,” Watson said.
As Breitbart News reported last week, Bill Bigelow is the curriculum editor of Rethinking Schools and co-director of the Zinn Education Project, which supports the use of revisionist historian Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States.