On the subtlety of white supremacy in the classroom: A parent's letter to a principal

Dear Ms. S,

Per your request, I am writing you a detailed account of the conversation that my daughter and I shared last night (11/4/09) before bedtime. S came to me, very confused, and asked me, "Am I a slave?" I wasn't sure where she was going with the subject, so I assured her that slavery is a state of mind and as long as her mind was free her soul would never be held in bondage. When I questioned the source of this question, she informed me that Ms. C said "a long time ago, I would have been a slave" and in S's words, Ms. C then pointed out all of the brown kids in the class and said "you would be a slave, you would be a slave, you would be a slave" (etc. ad nauseum). I was DEEPLY disturbed by this conversation and regardless of Ms. C's intent during this "lesson," the perceived intent and comprehension by my 7 year old daughter was not one of historical reference, but rather one where any person of color in her classroom must be less than their white counterparts because brown people were once slaves.

However, for the record, I have taught and will continue to teach my children that there was a very ugly period in American history when Europeans kidnapped and savagely murdered and beat people of African descent into a forced indentured servitude which later became a systematic system of slavery which persisted well into the 20th century and the residual effects of that system is still evident today in the horrifying display of so-called lesson where children of color are still ostracized and stigmatized into believing that their history began and ended with slavery.

I am asking your help in resolving this matter and if needed, I will be available on November 11th to discuss this in detail with the administration, as well as the teacher in question.

Thank you so much,

And thanks to Tara Mack of the Education for Liberation Network for passing this along.