I don’t even know what to say after reading this article in the Daily News:
Middle School 118 teacher Patricia Cummings shocked and traumatized children in her social studies classes when she singled out black students and told them to lie on the floor for a lesson on U.S. slavery — and then stepped on their backs to show them what slavery felt like, students and a staffer said.
Students said Cummings, who is white, pulled the insensitive stunt in multiple seventh-grade classes as part of a unit on the infamous Middle Passage, in which Africans were kidnapped and brought to America as part of the slave trade.
This is NOT okay! Who does stuff like this? Oh, I know — teachers who are ignorant and have no compassion about the trauma that Black people live with, teachers who have no sensitivity to the damaging psychological, emotional, and physical effects that the Middle Passage and slavery in America continue to have on us.
This is sick! I’m writing about this and I’m so pissed off! Who does this? No teacher in her or his right mind can tell me that this was just a “simple misunderstanding” — white people’s go-to catchphrase when they get called out on their racist practices but refuse to own it as such.
If only this was an isolated incident, as many would like me to believe. It’s not. I hear the questionable stuff that comes out of White teachers’ mouths all too regularly and I don’t know if it’s because they don’t know how to talk about issues of race without being awkward, or if the teachers who do this are just straight-up racists.
It has to stop. Not yesterday. Not next week. Not tomorrow. NOW.
I’m tired of the educational system profiting financially off of Black children, while doing next to nothing to educate the whole child. Black children are pushed into special education classrooms when often they are simply energetic and misunderstood. Black children are viewed as dangerous and deviant, causing them to be suspended at higher rates than any other demographic of students so that they can directly feed this nation’s thriving prison industrial complex.
Black children are not safe around teachers like the one featured in this article who maliciously subject them to ridicule, anger, and shame. Children are defenseless and need adults in their lives to love, guide, and protect them. That is part of teachers’ role in society. When the ones charged with protecting our children have morphed into the ones inflicting the trauma, you know something has gone drastically awry! Our educational landscape is going to hell in a hand basket and teachers without an iota of cultural awareness or sensitivity are the daily catalysts for Black children’s demise!