A Texas charter school is apologizing after a teacher gave an assignment to an eighth grade American History class, asking students to list the positive aspects of slavery.

“When I first read it, I thought, this was b.s.,” said Great Hearts Monte Vista eighth-grade student Manu Livar.

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17 thoughts on “Homework assignment asks students to list positive aspects of slavery

  1. Yes, I can understand the reaction against this school assignment, and yet it is designed to encourage the kids to do some critical thinking based on their textbook information and their own life experience – as a preliminary exercise before more research was done on the topic. I’m no fan of slavery, but I think it is a legitimate exercise. From my reading, if slaves were lucky enough to have a good man as their master, they didn’t suffer many of the horrors that other slaves experienced. On the positive side of the ledger, they had housing, clothing, and food. Once they got into deeper reading they would discover how accurate were their preliminary lists. Perhaps they would conclude that there were absolutely NO positive aspects. Ok. Still, a legitimate exercise.

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    • Do you know if that was this teacher’s intent? I’m skeptical. Furthermore, I can imagine much more appropriate subjects to spur critical thinking in children than slavery. That is a hot-button topic as I’m sure you’re aware. The relative treatment of slaves by their owners pales in comparison to the historical significance of institutionalized slavery.

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      • No, I don’t know if that was the teacher’s intent any more than do any of us know that it wasn’t the teacher’s intent. I agree, there are better topics for developing critical thinking skills. My concern was that we don’t jump to conclusions and go off the deep end. Now, if we find out that the teacher is a charter member of the KKK, then by all means, go off the deep end!

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        • The real problem of racism in America isn’t the existence of white supremacist groups like the KKK. No, the real problem is latent racism in the populace which is far more pervasive and subtle. It can be so subtle, in fact, that people can behave in that manner without being cognizant of it. Denial also plays a part. Most people do not see themselves as bigoted or racist, yet such emotions are firmly rooted in our human psyche.

          I do understand your concern. Teachers have a very difficult job. I believe they should be allowed to do it with as much freedom as possible. However, in this case, the teacher in question exercised poor judgement. Like other atrocities, there was nothing positive about slavery. It was an economic institution designed to benefit and empower an exclusive few at an egregious human cost.


  2. The realization that there are some among us who believe that slavery was a good thing leaves me speechless. In a world where we-humans are treated as mere consumers and commodities, we-the-working-class – like that Texas charter school teacher – are in essence slaves to the top One Percent who gorge and grow fat on the fruits of our labor.

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