I have taught social studies teachers for over fifty years and, invariably, come across a student teacher who has the nutty idea the way to teach about slavery is to conduct a slave auction. Well, the nut case surfaced at the Chapfield Elementary School in Gahanna, Ohio, when someone who calls herself a teacher decided to hold a slave auction. Naturally, the black children in the class were made to perform as “slaves.” They stood in front of the room while white children bid for them, touched them, examined mouths, felt legs and arms to ensure they were strong, and, made it clear having a white skin was simply another word for being, “good.” As Nikko Burton put it: “after people started bidding on people, it kind of made me feel a little mad.”
First, this is completely inappropriate. Second, if an educator wanted to “re-enact slavery,” why not have the white children be slaves? Of course, whoever believes in this stupidity will undoubtedly soon conduct:
A Holocaust experience in which Jewish children are taken to the cafeteria and placed in ovens. Hopefully, they will not be lit.
An Irish Famine experience in which those with Irish names do not eat for a week.
Or, how about re-enacting working in a textile mill. Some children will rise at 5:00 a.m., work, eat a piece of bread and so on.