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View Diary: Sigh. 12-year-old African American girl forced to pretend she was a slave for class field trip (195 comments)

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  •  Particularly when you're dealing with the fact (8+ / 0-)

    most people in America with ancestors going back to the 1860s in the east likely have some ancestor who was involved somehow in slavery from one side or the other.

    For some kids, you're teaching them what their great-great-great-grandparents lived through. For others, you're giving them a lesson they'll remember in a few years when they start putting the pieces together about old family stories and the gaps in them.

    The lessons I got were about the horrors one person can do to another in the name of power and money, and the justifications they can make... and that some day, the goal was that the descendants of all involved, enslaved and slave-holder, would be equal. Kids in Georgia suburbs can't get away from the "I Have A Dream" speech, after all. And that meant a lot to me over the past three or so years as the little family tidbits have kept showing up through genealogy research. We'd always thought one branch of the family was dirt-poor since the beginning, lucky to have what little they had. Turned out they seem to have lost everything but the shirts on their backs in 1865, and rightly so.

    If I had been subbed in for the little African-American child this atrocity was done to, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have come through discovering that my ancestors were among Virginia's finest families in the olden days half as well as I did - which was well enough to not turn away from the issue and try to ignore it for psychological self-protection. I also probably wouldn't have race relations in America as a minor personal research interest because my introduction to the rougher historical aspects would have been too harsh too fast and too early.

    And besides, I was already bullied enough by my classmates at that age that ending up in the hospital would have totally been an option - and a third-party presenter would have had no clue at all who the kids most at risk of non-simulated violence were.

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