Teaching Racism

On Thursday, September 20th, 2007 some of the faculty and parents of the kindergarten and first-grade students at Alma J. Brown Elementary School at at Grambling State University (GSU) had the children hold a rally and march in protest of the imprisonment of Mychal Bell, and the apparent racial bias shown toward Blacks in the Jena, Louisiana. They made signs and marched around their playground in support of the six young men who were, to my mind unjustly charged with attempted murder after a schoolyard fight.

mock-lynching of a young Black girl

Before marching the young students were given a lesson in racism. No, not a lesson about racism, but a true and grizzly lesson in racism. Members of the elementary school’s faculty and some of the students’ family members decided, without the approval from either the school’s Principal or the University’s Director, to hold the mock lynching of at least one young Black girl! The students were also made to walk around while wrapped in heavy iron chains, dragging them around like slaves being moved to ship, auction block or plantation.

mock-lynching of a young Black girl

What lesson can this teach the children except the fear and hatred of Whites? How is this little girl – or her classmates – going to feel every time they see a White person? There is a profound difference between teaching the facts of a brutal and hateful part of our history and willfully propagating it. How long must our society go on infecting each new generation with the phobias and prejudices of the past.


Yes, it was a rope around the little girl’s neck. It was a (safe) demonstration as to what the rope symbolized to blacks. This was my granddaughter and she along with so many of the other students did not understand the intimidation of the noose. I held her in my arms and she knows that I would not harm her or put her life in danger. In order to understand racism one must experience it to make the connection.

— Irene Booker

Exactly, Mrs. Booker, your granddaughter along with so many of the other students did not understand the intimidation of the noose.” That item had no visceral impact upon them and no power over them as of yet, but you cured them of that lack of fear and hate didn’t you?

Mrs. Booker and her ilk aren’t content with their own hatred; they have to spread it around to the children in placed in their care. They teach racism, fear and hate to each new generation under the guise of teaching them history or making them aware of racism. How is what they do different from what White Supremist groups do? Forget the Jena 6, these people need to charged with Hate Crimes.

I like to thank David W. Boles who has a great post on this topic at Urban Semiotic . I might not of known of this outrage without Mr. Boles’ diligent efforts to bring attention to matters that affect the people in the urban centers of America.

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18 Responses to “Teaching Racism”

  1. David W. Boles Says:

    Right on, my friend! I appreciate you hammering the word on this teaching atrocity. It was a sickening event and it needs the harsh light of day.

  2. jonolan Says:

    Thank you, it took me a bit to put it all together. Mrs. Booker’s quote is actually from the GSU school newspaper’s blog. It’s not nearly the most hateful one there though.

    Things like this shouldn’t happen in first place but they do. Things like this need to stopped when they do happen and stopped in a manner that encourages people not to do them again in the future.

  3. Christy Says:

    Thank you for drawing attention. I am horrified, thinking of my eight-year old brother being put through that and the ensuing psychological and emotional damage tied with this “lesson” for all of those children. What are we propagating?!

  4. Christy Says:

    I’m incensed. Our children don’t need to be taught this way and at this age; they need to be given free, unconditional, unending love; only then will we start to see fulfilled adults who aren’t not needy and desperately seeking validation that they did not receive as a child – filling them with fear and with an “us verses them” mentality is doing nothing but contributing to the brokenness.

    I think of something Donald Miller writes: “It makes you feel that as a parent the most important thing you can do is love your kids, hold them and tell them you love them, because, until we get to heaven, all we can do is hold our palms over the wounds. I mean, if a kid doesn’t feel he is loved, he is going to go looking for it in all kinds of ways. He is going to want to feel powerful or important or tough, and she is going to want to feel beautiful and wanted and needed. Give a kid the feeling of being loved early, and they will be better at negotiating that other stuff when they get older. They won’t fall for anything stupid, and they won’t feel a kind of desperation all the time in their souls. It is no coincidence that Jesus talks endlessly about love. Free love. Unconditional love.”

    Yes, Miller’s view may be only one facet of parenting, but I think if we took it to heart and fully understood the principle behind it, we would see a generation that is much more healthy than the one of which I am a part. When a person is secure in who he or she is, they can be concerned with others welfare – when they aren’t always asking “Do you love me? Do you accept me?” from everyone around them, they can start thinking about others and perhaps let some of that love pour out from them into others’ lives. This setting ourselves against each other, thinking in the construct of who is right, who is wrong, who is better, who is less worthy, who deserves more, etc. is anything but constructive toward healing and well-being. When one has experienced deep, pervasive love, one is ready and more equipped and able to handle the serious issues of racism. Teaching our kids about our shameful past in such a fashion (not to mention such a young age) is beyond horrendous – where is the wisdom and discernment regarding the hearts and minds of young children in learning about the brokenness of this world?

    I am disgusted and grieved – grieved for those children upon whom this experience has made an indelible impression upon.

  5. jonolan Says:

    Yes, the truly sad part of such things is how effective such negative lessons are. Indoctinating the young into hate-filled idealogies is disturbingling easy.

  6. Shirley Buxton Says:

    Great posts. These are sad days in many regards.


    Shirley Buxton

  7. jonolan Says:

    Thanks for stopping by, Shirley. Yes these are sad days.

  8. Ohg Rea Tone Says:

    Hey Jonolan,

    You have a nice blog and this is a good post – thanks


  9. jonolan Says:

    Thanks for stopping by, Ogh. I hope you keep doing so 🙂

  10. Saij Says:

    Holy Heavens! That’s just insane!

  11. jonolan Says:

    Insane, stupid and / or evil.

  12. sunny Says:

    It seems that you are so familiar with each other that i can’t underatand some of your words, but ot doesn’t matter, right? And I also have many friends on interracialmatch.com, we often talk about how to raise our kids in the biracial families. Yes, it is a big problem, the only thing we can do is protecting them when they are by our side.

  13. jonolan Says:

    Thanks for stopping by, sunny.

    I’d like to hope that we could protect our children in part by denouncing schools and their personnel who engage in the behavior described in this post.

  14. john jacobs Says:

    ya fuck niggers aren’t they the stupidest race around I mean they became slaves for pete sake how wants to be a slave a nigger does cause there stupid that’s who. Damn niggers need to learn respect for the superior races.

  15. jonolan Says:

    Nice, John Jacobs. Was that misplaced and poorly executed sarcasm or are you that much a part of this problem in the US?

  16. haygis Says:

    whats truly outrageous is that this isn’t being offered to white kids. i think experiential learning opportunities like these need, no, HAVE to be made available to white kids.

    black kids will grow up with racism whether or not they want to….its the ignorance of white people and white people’s disconnection from their own humanity, disconnection from the history of white terrorism against people of color, disconnection from meaningful engagement with people of color on a daily basis that is the real problem, not lessons like this.

    until white people truly understand what it is their race has done to people of color, truly understand and connect with it at a human level, there will continue to be barriers because liberal whites who cannot deal or sit comfortably with their own skins will keep trying to shut down meaningful experiences like this because it makes them queasy.

    wake up my friends….racism is nauseating. the sooner you stop resisting the POC experience of white racism in all of its ugly horrific terrorism, the sooner lasting bridges can be built.


  17. G Says:

    To Jacobs, maybe you need to learn more bout racism and maybe take some spelling classes. It seems that you are very uneducated about what society is going through. And I seen that you used the word Niggers” well “Niggers” are any race that choses to live in filth and that are highly uneduacted. So I suppose your a “nigger” then right! I hope that you arent able to have kids or that they come out and slap you in the face because you would be a disgrace as a father figure if you cant teach or preach about being at least equal. Asshole

  18. jonolan Says:


    A couple of points:

    Firstly, this is an old post and you’re the first one to comment on it since November, 2009 – in point of fact, John Jacob’s drive-by comment was made in October, 2008! It’s doubtful he’ll see your response, since he’s never been back here that I can remember.

    Secondly, if you’re going to rant about someone’s spelling it would be wise to double-check your own. Checking the grammar wouldn’t hurt either…

    Now I say that only because you brought the point up and not to belittle you.

    Why should I belittle you? I largely agree with what you actually said – though there’s a tone and certain allusions within your comment that leads to doubt if my agreement would stretch very far.

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