Monday, June 21, 2010

in the details...

So, I'm going to quote one of my dearest friends when I say, this photo doesn't really have anything to do with this post. ;)

What's on my mind? you may ask - that has gotten me to the point of not coordinating photos with theme of post. Well, have a seat and reason with me for a moment.

My daughter's school sent home a link to an educational website. We decided to test drive a few of the videos for fun. Of course we started with Harriet Tubman. A fairly historically accurate account followed. (check). Feeling confident, we cruised along to Susan B. Anthony when a seemingly insurmountable obstacle appeared in the midst of our educational path. It sounded something like this, Many African-Americans worked as slaves.
I slammed on the brakes.

Excuse me? Lemme think about this one for a minute..you know, see if I got this right: Soooo...I can be kidnapped and forever separated from my family; my lineal offspring will not recognise, or even know of each other's existence, as they will be indiscriminately spread across the globe. I will be raped with impunity...Oh, and my children will be too. Beaten severely when I simply want to take a break from toiling in the hot scorching sun or to give my weary body much needed rest. I cannot learn to read either because seeking literacy skills is against the law. I cannot run away from my self-appointed "master" because I risk that my family and I will be hanged or otherwise murdered. I will be treated as if I am less than a human being all day long, and sold when I no longer am needed by my oppressors. Damn, that sounds like a fantastic job. Where do I sign up?

I took a few deep breaths. (Ok, I admit it was more than a few.) After all, I had a child watching me and believe me, she can be quite the effective self-monitor. I meditated on this issue for a few days. I sat with it, and examined it deeply, but it still did not change. So I called the school and diplomatically explained the issue and how offensive it was to my family and more importantly, how utterly disrespectful that misinformation was to my ancestors. I notified the administration that I would be contacting the website directly to voice my humble opinion...and I sure did.

Within a day, I received an email from the company assuring me that they will re-write and re-record that line in the video. They thanked me for bringing this issue to their attention.

It is important to relay historically accurate facts in the education of our children. Therefore, when the new textbooks coming out of Texas are published, changing the term "slave trade" to the "atlantic triangular trade", I shall raise my voice once again. I refuse to let others denigrate my ancestors' existence, their very being, and the countless inhumane experiences they were forced to endure, with a play on words. So once again, I shall speak up because it is all in the details.

one love.

17 comments:

Gayle said...

My mouth fell open when I read the line, "..worked as slaves." Good for you for taking the time to make the contacts to get it fixed!

Marilyn said...

It is disgusting what they are doing with textbooks in Texas. I recently read a novel where the main character was a slave. It makes my heart so sad to read how they were treated.

Kim Mailhot said...

Brava for speaking up and makng change happen.
One Love, my friend!

m. heart said...

Good for you speaking up. Otherwise history becomes just another marketing campaign, and everybody buys it.

Kass said...

This reminds me of the time my daughter was giving a report on Columbus in the 5th grade and she told how he used and abused slaves and her teacher stopped her mid-sentence, told her to take that portion out of her report or she would fail her. You can believe I marched right over to that school.

Wanda said...

Yes! One Love.

Cinner said...

Good for you Se'lah, the only way we make change is to speak out about it.one love my friend.

Lyn said...

You did it! You spoke up -- and we all should be. Inaccuracies, prejudices, and "isms" can only exist if we allow them to. I love that you tackled the issue head on and didn't tolerate nor accept it. You are a strong model for your daughter ... Bless you my dear friend!

Birdie said...

now it's working and I'm so happy because this is such a fantastic post Se'lah! I applaud you for speaking out loud!! I so agree with Cinner that the only way to make change is to speak out, she is very right about that! One love.

Lynn said...

You know, when I first read the statement, I didn't think about it being offensive. Just that, as slaves, the were forced to work. To the death, and the hardest work ever forced on anyone. I didn't think about it as a form of employment, as we do when we think of the word "work" today. That said, after reading your response, I could completely see why it could be taken as an extremely insulting comment. And good on you for speaking up. It just shows how carefully we need to choose our words, especially when it comes to something as significant, for want of a better term, as this terrible, yet glossed over, time in this nation's history.

Have you read "The Book of Negros," by Lawrence Hill? I'd love to hear your take on it. There are so many, many books about the slave trade, but this one takes it on from a different perspective, in some ways, as it talks about not only the trade in the US but also the black experience in Eastern Canada for those who were able to get out with the British Loyalists after the Revolution and then go back to Africa to live in Sierra Leone. It's a novel, but based very, very strongly on fact, as evidenced by the bibliography and author's note. Very interesting book.

Anyway, I've babbled long enough. This was an awesome post. Looking forward to reading more of your beautiful blog!

Chris said...

I love people like you who stand up for what they not only know to be true but what they firmly believe in. It never ceases to amaze me how utterly clueless some people are. The world's in desperate need for more people like you Se'Lah. Your daughter has an amazing role model. Good for you for taking the time to speak you mind and set the record straight.

Marisa said...

Good for you Se'lah for standing up and speaking out...you used your voice to bring forth a change.

I enjoy reading your blog although I don't have time to comment as often as I would like. I left you something on my blog if you would like to drop over and pick it up.

Kim Living Life said...

Se'Lah I love you. You know that. And your stance for what is right and speaking out against the lies and inaccuracies so easily told in schools and media today is inspiring.
C has a strong and wonderful mother looking out for her and telling her the truth.
Love and hugs

Anali said...

I'm so glad that you saw that and said something. Thank you! Unbelievable the blatant misinformation that is being taught.

elizabeth said...

I didn't catch it until I read it again. So glad you caught it and spoke up!

Kathryn Grace said...

Thank you for addressing the video head on. I'm glad one woman's voice was enough to effect such change, and I look forward to hearing how soon they make it happen.

Frankly, there needs to be such a hue and cry over the new textbooks that Congress calls hearings and for once, instead of simply giving the idiots a formal place to make their blah-blahs, puts them in their place.

More, every school in the nation must stop buying those textbooks now. Not one more. That's one picket line I'll join.

Relyn said...

Bravo, Se'lah! So many of us get steamed about injustice, insults, callous disregard for others and still - we do nothing. Bravo, I say. Good for you for not letting it go. For not being mad for a few days and then forgetting it. Bravo for making a change.