REPOST FROM TheBlackList eNewsletter:
Sent: Sunday, November 21, 2010 9:51 PM
Subject: 10 Little "N-ggers" and West Orange
Boy, those who think they can degrade the Black community seems to be endless. (And these remarks keep coming from the left and right -- which is why I'm glad that I am who I am and for the stances I have taken).
This was brought to my attention by one of the local community activists in West Orange, who is a strong Black sister. But I was toldl that some ignorant assed teacher in West Orange, New Jersey decided to teach her middle school class the story of "10 Little N-ggers" and then had the children sing the song in school.
It is also my understanding that the West Orange School District is not doing ANYTHING about this. They have chosen to protect the "teacher" and are not releasing her name -- although I will find it out. Also they are talking about "diversity training," which to me many people today seem to exploit and mocke.
I am listing two versions of this story.
One is the "sanitized" version from the Star Ledger ( a paper that is known to local residents as the Star Liar). The other is version that seems to more aptly tell what happened. I am waiting to hear back from the person who originally told me about this to get more information. Needless to say I am absolutely livid and the local community here is not going to take this! You can count on that!
West Orange school officials review diversity training, curriculum after class handout includes racial epithet
Aliza Appelbaum/For The Star-Ledger
Posted: 11/12/2010 7:00 AM
Amazon.com/AP PhotoAgatha Christie's famous "And Then There Were None" was originally published under a different name including a racial epithet.
— West Orange school officials will reassess the district’s diversity training and curriculum after a Liberty Middle School teacher handed out a paper containing a racial epithet to a seventh-grade class.
The veteran teacher, who was not named, gave students a handout about the Agatha Christie mystery novel "And Then There Were None" during a language arts lesson last month, school officials said. The paper contained a scene from the stage adaptation of the 1939 novel that referred to the book’s original title, "Ten Little Niggers."
Demond and Tauheedah Baker-Jones complained to school officials after their son, Timothy, told them he read the racial epithet in class.
"The word was used in a way that
had no relevance to the lesson at hand," said Tauheedah Baker-Jones, who is African-American. "Some texts that have historical value do have that word, but there is a procedure for introducing and dealing with the issue and that was not done here."
West Orange Superintendent Anthony Cavanna declined to say if the teacher — who is not African-American — was reprimanded. However, Cavanna said the district will hire an outside firm to assess the diversity of the district’s curriculum and school staff.
"We’re going to spend time looking at what we’re doing right and what we can do better," he said.
West Orange joins a growing number of districts wrestling with how to deal with racial epithets in the classroom. Several books regularly assigned in middle and high school — including "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," "To Kill a Mockingbird’’ and "Of Mice and Men" — contain the n-word.
Earlier this month, a Michigan family sued their school district after excerpts from a book about slavery containing the n-word were read aloud in their daughter’s fifth-grade class. Last week, Flagler Palm Coast High School in Florida canceled a student production of "To Kill a Mockingbird" after parents and students complained about the use of the n-word in some scenes.
West Orange school officials said they have used the handout about Christie’s "And Then There Were None" in classes for years without controversy. The book, a bestseller, revolves around 10 people on an island who are killed off one by one. Its original title referred to a 19th century nursery rhyme, a standard of blackface minstrel shows, that is also known as "Ten Little Indians."
An early copy of the Christie book, with its original cover, is in the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia at Ferris State University in Michigan. But the museum’s curator does not believe the text of the book is offensive.
"I don’t consider the fictional work racist — it’s a play on a racist poem," said David Pilgrim, the museum’s curator and vice president for diversity and inclusion at Ferris State.
West Orange officials said the "And Then There Were None" handout containing the racial epithet was used during a lesson on inductive and deductive reasoning in a class for high-achieving students in the district’s High Aptitude Program. After parents complained, the teacher apologized to the class and lead a lesson on the use of the n-word.
In addition to complaining to the school district, Baker-Jones’ family filed complaints with the NAACP and the ACLU. Cavanna, the superintendent, said the incident sparked an important dialogue about race and diversity in West Orange.
"It’s good to have this discussion in the community," he said. "I think, as a district, we’re doing what we should be doing."
Thursday, October 14, 2010
N-WORD taught in West Orange, NJ, Middle School
Anyone who knows me, whether you like me or not, knows that I am seldom at a loss for words but last week I was left speechless, gasping for air, when I was told the following story by a good friend of mine.
It seems that a teacher in a West Orange, NJ, middle school decided to teach the N-WORD to their class of gifted and talented students, five of whom are ‘children of color.’ Apparently the teacher started by exposing them to Agatha Christie’s mystery novel, Ten Little Niggers and then proceeded to have them sing the following song over the objection of one of the 'children of color:'
Ten little nigger boys went out to dine;
One choked his little self and then there were Nine.
Nine little nigger boys sat up very late;
One overslept himself and then there were Eight.
Eight little nigger boys travelling in Devon;
One said he'd stay there and then there were Seven.
Seven little nigger boys chopping up sticks;
One chopped himself in halves and then there were Six.
Six little nigger boys playing with a hive;
A bumble bee stung one and then there were Five.
Five little nigger boys going in for law;
One got into Chancery and then there were Four.
Four little nigger boys going out to sea;
A red herring swallowed one and then there were Three.
Three little nigger boys walking in the Zoo;
A big bear hugged one and then there were Two.
Two little nigger boys sitting in the sun;
One got frizzled up and then there was One.
One little nigger boy left all alone;
He went out and hanged himself and then there were None.
How this came light was that the kid who objected told their parents and their parents contacted the principal and the NAACP. The NAACP has filed a complaint with the school system and they are supposed to work out a resolution on Friday, 10/15/2010.
What I find shocking is that it's 2010, not 1910. What in the teacher's mind could make them think that this was okay? What possible reason could be used to justify them singing that song? And you can imagine walking down the hallway of the school and hearing that song wafting out of the classroom. What's the next lesson for the children 'How to make a Noose, and its Practical Uses?'
My hope is that the NAACP and the West Orange School District come to a satisfactory resolution. My further hope is that I have gotten it all wrong (I don't think so) and someone was playing an elaborate practical joke on me
Dr. Mustafa Ansari
American Institute of Human Rights
Author, " The Framework"
Author, The Right to a Political Identity
RESPONSES AND COMMENT AS PUBLISHED IN TheBlackList eNewsletter:
Sent: Monday, November 22, 2010 9:19 PM
Subject: Re: [TheBlackList] re: 10 Little "N-gger Boys" and West Orange
I appreciate your concern sister Makemba but this indignant approach does not make sense.
I think that the parents/African-Americans should take a more holistic approach aimed at educating their children, because even a lawsuit to a white court and all-white jury would not solve this matter, since educators are given wide leeway in teaching. There is such a think called educational privilege. In other words the suit will fail.
Combined that with the fact that as soon as they get out of school and into their neighborhoods they will hear the "N" word spoken on the way home, and on the radio by African Americans who think it is okay to call each other a Nigger. In fact, many African Americans tell me that its okay because we end the word with and 'a' ..Nigga
Instead, I suggest that we can solve this whole problem of the N word by joining many of scholars and educators in electing our own self- identity by way of an internal election. The reason being is that most of the social studies and English textbooks are left overs from the apartheid era.
What really bothers me is the Euro-centric stories of Columbus, Sir Walter Raleigh, George Washington, .Jefferson, Lincoln, etc., because these people that our kids are taught to admire were either slaveholders or white Supremacist. Lerone Bennet in his book "forced to Glory", explained that Lincoln used the N word often and loved the minstrel plays.
When we elect an identity we can cast a true light on these racially revisionist and incorrect text that we have been taught from. I bet you half of us went to schools called Lincoln, Washington, Jefferson, Monroe etc. This is like a Jew going to Adolph Hitler High.
In order for us to respect us, and have other respect us, we can't allow ourselves to be named by others, or taught by others. Good for the kids to have a modicum of respect for themselves, but we as adults have to make long-lasting change.
Nothing personal to you Sister, this communique is for all African Americans to think about.
On Mon, Nov 22, 2010 at 8:22 PM, Makemba X a>firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Monday, November 22, 2010 8:20 PM
Subject: Re: 10 Little "N-gger Boys" and West Orange
I have since been in touch with one of the mothers of one of the African American children who was very offended by the teaching of "10 Little N-gger Boys" in the West Orange Middle School. From what I understand not only was an excerpt brought in from the book, but the teacher, whose name is Carol Hyde, also brought the poem in and had the class read that poem out loud.
My understanding is that this happened in September, and the West Orange School system hasn't done anything about it. In fact, I am told that they said it was part of their curriculum. They also had plans to teach the "10 Little Indian" version of it as well -- which is equally as offensive. West Orange has done everything to protect the teacher and refused to release her name. But her name is Carol Hyde.
I also want to say that I am SO PROUD of the 4 young African American children, who are about 12 years old, who stood up in that class and said they found this offensive. If it were not for them having the courage to speak out and then complain to their parents -- we would not know about this. They showed more guts than some adults I know. And they are to be applauded for that. (By the way, when they said they were offended, their ignorant teacher, Carol Hyde, defended the use of the term and said that it wasn't offensive during the time in which it was written.
Sent: Tuesday, November 23, 2010 2:41 AM
To: Undisclosed recipients:
Subject: Re: [TheBlackList] re: 10 Little "N-gger Boys" and West Orange
"West Orange joins a growing number of districts wrestling with how to deal with racial epithets in the classroom. Several books regularly assigned in middle and high school — including "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," "To Kill a Mockingbird’’ and "Of Mice and Men" — contain the n-word."
You cannot rewrite these so called american classics — just like you cannot rewrite Mein Kampf.
The N Word is the name for African Americans given to us by the slave master and the us government.
It is the american racist system — that has set us up as "3/5 of a Human Being".
Now with that said — after hundreds of years of being treated as
"3/5 of a Human Being," many of us seem to act like slaves.
We are still murdered at will by whites and murder each other and cannot stop calling each other the N WORD.
We are the problem, not Agatha Christie's Books.
Most of our folks did not read Agatha Christie's Books.
Our music, Our Comedians & African American Adults have tough our children to use the N word. We have members of our race who have spread this sick word, all over the Planet Earth.
You cannot deal with epithets in the CLASSROOM, You must deal with epithets
In our homes.
Their use to be signs "NO CHINKS & DOGS" "NO NIGGERS".
Which one of the above groups — do you hear call themselves, the name given to them by the oppressor?
Doctor, Heal thyself — we have become our own oppressor.
Why is it that so many of us, can-not stop using the NWORD?
When you do the same thing over & over again — yet expect a different result.
That's Called INSANITY.
We now carry the baton for the slave masters.
Imagine the sickness of a people who Curse themselves, Curse Their Children, Curse their ancestor...
No people can expect respect — without respecting themselves :(