Apparently, the education system in Indiana is struggling with its honoring of Black History Month.
Just Tuesday, we reported about a teacher in Indianapolis who thought it was a good idea to create a BHM assignment that involved having students draw pictures of Black people picking cotton. Now, it appears that another educator is giving parents the option of exempting their children from participating in BHM-related lessons altogether. Obviously, this is an excuse for white parents who think BHM is critical race theory to shelter their children in white purity and keep them away from learning evil in school. And by “evil,” I mean “all things Black history and white fragility-inducing.”
According to a screenshot of the form shared on social media, a Sprunica Elementary School councilor aptly named Benjamin White authored the letter to parents essentially saying that while “February is a time for caring and growing for our students,” it doesn’t necessarily need to be a time for white parents to care about their kids growing to know anything about Black achievement in America.
“In honor of Black History Month and Valentine’s Day, I will be coming around and teaching lessons related to equity, caring, and understanding differences,” the letter states. “These lessons will occur during the weeks of February 14-25th.”
White also mentioned studies that “show that students who have a greater understanding of diversity in the classroom and outside world will demonstrate improved learning outcomes such as improved grades, better peer relationships, and greater career success later on.”
OK, so maybe White should be cut a little slack here. He certainly seems to be pro-BHM, and it’s possible these forms giving parents a chance to opt-out were required by the school or school district. After all, it doesn’t sound like a regularly-scheduled education plan considering the fact that he will be “coming around” to classes to teach it.
Still, imagine if someone sent out a letter to parents that allowed them to pull their children from lessons on the Founding Fathers because those lessons are whitewashed and make no mention of the fact that most of them were slavers and all of them believed Black people to be lesser. Imagine the outrage of white “patriots” who only really care about “divisiveness” when it comes to lessons that make them uncomfortable.
Also, let’s be real, the way Republicans and right-wing pundits have poisoned the words “equity” and “diversity” and made them out to be clear indicators that CRT is being forced on their children, including those words in a form allowing parents to forgo BHM lessons for their children is really all the incentive they need to check that “nope” box and sign their names.
The optics are just bad and Black history should be just as much required learning as the rest of American history is.