School lesson urges students adopt Black Panthers’ demands in response to Ferguson shooting

August 29, 2014

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Kyle Olson Kyle Olson

Kyle founded Education Action Group in 2007.
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FERGUSON, Mo. – If you think the teachable moment from the recent events in Ferguson, Missouri may be how to foster racial reconciliation, that’s not what some educators have in mind.

black panthers buttonThe activist group “Teaching for Change” thinks students need a little more Black Panther in them.

“As the new school year begins, first and foremost on our minds and in our hearts will be the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri,” a lesson writer for the group, Julian Hipkins, says.

The lesson then suggests “a few ideas and resources for the classroom to help students think critically about the events in Ferguson and ways they can be proactive in their own communities.”

Number one?

An excerpt from the Black Panther Party’s 1966 platform, known as the “10-Point Program.” Specifically, it calls students’ attention to #7, which makes demands in response to “police brutality.”

#7. We want an immediate end to police brutality and murder of Black people, other people of color, and all oppressed people inside the United States.

“The issue of police brutality in communities of color has a long history and the Panther platform gives an example of how to turn grievances into a clear set of goals for meaningful change,” Hipkins writes.

Students are then urged to create their own list of demands.

The lesson also has kids watch a video of Malcolm X urging the United States be sent to the United Nations on human rights charges.

He believed that it was “impossible for the United States government to solve the race problem” and the only way to get the United States to change its racist ways was to bring international pressure. …

Indeed, the U.S. government is quick to condemn human rights violations in other countries, but does not expect to be accountable to the world for actions within its own borders.

The lesson suggests students read media coverage from the far-left Democracy Now and Al Jazeera.

Another lesson promoted by the group is written by Renee Watson of the progressive malcontents at Rethinking Schools. Her lesson, titled, “Teach About Mike Brown. But Don’t Stop There,” begins:

This time last summer, I researched articles and collected poems about police brutality, racial profiling, and the murders of black men in the United States. The George Zimmerman verdict was fresh on my mind and I wanted to talk about it with my students once school was back in session.

Watson then quotes a blog called “Manic Pixie Dream Mama”:

My boys will carry a burden of privilege with them always. They will be golden boys, inoculated by a lack of melanin and all its social trapping against the problems faced by Black America.

For a mother, white privilege means your heart doesn’t hit your throat when your kids walk out the door. It means you don’t worry that the cops will shoot your sons.

It carries another burden instead. White privilege means that if you don’t school your sons about it, if you don’t insist on its reality and call out oppression, your sons may become something terrifying.

Your sons may become the shooters.

This mother thinks about the possibility of the shooters being in her home. I think of the possibility of the shooters being in our classrooms.

“I believe we are gatekeepers. I believe that what we bring into the classroom, in both content and attitude, will impact our young people in ways we might never personally witness,” Watson says towards the end of the lesson.

That’s precisely why parents need to be aware of what’s being taught in their child’s classroom.

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