A Chicago grade school student’s journal entry slamming a teacher and claiming whites can’t teach black history is going viral as the nation again comes to grips with the now controversial legacy of Christopher Columbus and the holiday that bears his name.
King Johnson, an eight-year-old student in the Chicago Public School system, was so unhappy with how he was being taught the history of Italian explorer Christopher Columbus that he scolded his teacher in his daily “journal,” reports say.
The young student felt that he was being taught lies about Columbus and slammed his teacher for the “blah blah blah” he was receiving from her.
Saying, “Today was not a good learning day,” the student went on to tell his teacher to stop telling lies to him. And though Mr. Johnson said he enjoyed having Columbus Day off from school, he ended his journal entry asking, “how can white people teach black history?”
The student also noted in his journal entry that, “the only Christopher we acknowledge is Wallace,” likely a reference to rapper Notorious B.I.G. whose real name was Christopher Wallace.
The full text of the student’s journal is as follows:
Today was not a good learning day. blah blah blah i only wanted ti gear you not talking. You said something wrong and i can’t listen when i hear lies. my mom said that the only Christopher we acknowledge is Wallace, Because Columbus didn’t find our country the Indians did. I like to have Columbus day off bit I want you to not teach me lies. That is all. My question for the day is how can white people teach black history?
Needless to say, the student’s teacher pronounced her “disappointment” in the boy’s journal entry for that day.
It is unclear how the child thought the history of Christopher Columbus was “black history.”
Regardless, Robin Johnson, the student’s mother, told the Huffington Post she was proud of her son. She said she already taught her children about her impression of Columbus’ real legacy and is happy to see how “confident” her son is about the lesson she taught.
“It’s important to tell the truth because the world should be full of trust and love,” HuffPo claimed the boy said. “Some things that I may not feel comfortable saying I can now say with more courage and to know that I will be supported.”
Activists have been scheming to eliminate Columbus from the pantheon of American heroes for decades, especially because of his practice of enslaving the native populations he met in the New World. Other activists discount the idea that Columbus “discovered” anything at all because native peoples had already come from afar to fill the American continent with inhabitants hundreds of thousands of years earlier.
But, the European explorer who famously sailed across the ocean in 1492, has long been credited with “finding” the Americas after landing on several islands in the Bahamas and later claiming what was to become the Island of Hispaniola for Spain. Columbus went back to Spain and set out again with a larger fleet to explore more of the areas he first encountered in 1492. Columbus, though, never did reach North America, so he did not really “discover” the land mass that several hundred years later would become the U.S.A. In fact, he initially thought he had discovered a quicker route to Japan, China, and other Asian lands.
Despite the serious problems that Columbus’ legacy evokes, he was one of the first to turn Europe’s attention to the Americas and he helped open the door for what would eventually become the United States, Canada, and all the other nations of the northern, central, and southern parts of the continent. In that light, the claim Columbus was the father of the new world holds some water.
Still, some liberal cities have bowed to the pressure to stop honoring Christopher Columbus and have canceled the Columbus Day holiday. San Francisco, for instance, recently replaced the holiday with “Indigenous Peoples Day.”
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.