Yes, Sometimes History Is Offensive. Get Over It.

Yes, sometimes history is offensive. Gut-wrenching. Nauseating. But these sometimes horrific events must be examined and taught, the contributing factors analyzed, not only in that era’s context but with the wisdom that comes from hindsight. How do you expect future generations to avoid the same mistakes if they don’t understand the underlying principles?

Award winning AP History teacher in hot water for teaching about … racial hatred. It’s not what she taught, but how she taught it. Remember, in this day and age, delivery is everything and bound to offend someone.

Catherine Ariemma never intended for students to be offended by the sight of four Ku Klux Klansmen at Lumpkin County High School.

But that’s how senior Cody Rider said he felt last Thursday when he looked up and saw the students — dressed in white hoods and sheets — walking through the school cafeteria.

[…] Ariemma, a six-year veteran with the Lumpkin County school system, said the students, who were working on a film project for her advanced placement U.S. history class, meant no harm.

She admitted that she may have made a mistake by letting the students film the Klan reenactment on campus.

“I feel terrible that I have students who feel threatened because of something from my class,” Ariemma told the AJC. “In hindsight, I wouldn’t have had them film that part at school.”

But the damage was done.

A report went to school officials, after parents of black students learned what had happened and called the district.

Ariemma was placed on paid suspension, and activist the Rev. Markel Hutchins was called to the town 50 miles north of Atlanta to help quell what seemed to be growing frustration among Dahlonega’s small African American community.

[…] “This project was about racism in U.S. history,” Ariemma said. “Not just racism against African Americans, but racism as a whole.”

She said including the Ku Klux Klan was an essential piece.

“You cannot discuss racism without discussing the Klan,” she said. “To do so would be to condone their actions.”

With this heady mix, what could go wrong? A fine teacher will probably lose her job and the race pirates win again. Everybody loses.

Through personal experience, I know that AP students are encouraged to stretch themselves academically and are challenged to levels of critical thinking not usually achieved by a normal high school student. Again, how can our children avoid the mistakes of the past if they are prohibited from learning by paranoid administrators and race-baiting politics?

5 Comments

  1. May 25, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    […] Obi’s sister has a gut wrenching tale of political correctness. The race hustlers strike again. […]

  2. smitty said,

    May 25, 2010 at 7:05 pm

    It was the part where the hoods came off and revealed the Mohammed masks that really stirred the pot.

  3. Obi's Sister said,

    May 25, 2010 at 7:31 pm

    Touche!

  4. Fern Owens said,

    May 27, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    If only more people would hear about this.

  5. jtd7 said,

    May 27, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    I do agree that it is essential to teach about racism. But it seems to me that Ms. Ariemma is not in trouble for teaching her class about racism, but for allowing students not in her class to be surprised by the sight of her students in Ku Klux Klan costumes. The students eating lunch did not have the context of the history class, and it seems to me natural they would interpret the sight as a present danger. Ms. Ariemma seems to recognize that (so I take her “hindsight” quote).


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