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“Catch a Slave” Game Played by Teacher with Students in Georgia

“It was kind of like tag, but we were slaves and slave catchers,” a student told her mother. “She [the teacher] would sit on the bench and the slave catchers would come up to the door and ask did she have any slaves.”

What is going on in Georgia? Just recently, a teach in a Lawrenceville GA elementary school used slave questions on a math test such as:

“Each tree has 56 oranges. If eight slaves pick them equally, then how much would each slave pick?”

Now a teacher in Liburn GA organized and participated in a game with children involving slavery reenactment. Last Tuesday, Ericka Lasley told Channel 2’s Amy Napier Viteri her third-grader came home from Camp Creek Elementary School and told her about the game.

“It was kind of like tag, but we were slaves and slave catchers,” Lasley said her daughter told her. Lasley’s 8-year-old said her teacher proposed the game based on what they were learning in Social Studies, and also participated. “She would sit on the bench and the slave catchers would come up to the door and ask did she have any slaves,” the student said.

Another parent, Charvia Rivers, said both her children shared a similar story. She said her son, Kaya Toney, is in the same class. Toney said the teacher described the game as “a game where slave catchers catch slaves.”

But Gwinnett County Schools spokesman Jorge Quintana said the district investigated the activity and found the teacher wasn’t involved. “The district determined that the activity was student-initiated and that allegations regarding the teacher’s involvement were unfounded,” he said in a statement.

Rivers’ daughter, third-grader Raven Toney, said the teacher played a safehouse guard, telling her and other designated slaves when to run. “She was right there on the bench,” the girl said.

Both parents said the game was inappropriate and insensitive. “It is demeaning, dehumanizing and hurtful,” Rivers said.

I am not sure I am buying the story from the district that the game was student-initiated. For arguments sake, however, let’s say the student did create and start the game. The teacher was present and did actively participate in the game. Why did the teacher not insist on changing the subject of the game? Especially after what has recently happened with the test questions. At the very least, the teacher should have voiced her concerns about the subject of the game being about slavery and not participated.

On a follow-up note, the teacher who created the slave math problems has resigned.

14 replies »

  1. Great post unfortunately the story is a sad commentary on what is happening in America. That racism that has festered beneath the surface, the fear that the white entitlement and power structure is eroding is rearing its ugly head. Blacks knew it was just beneath the surface of the social fabric of America but we had thought more people were “accepting of our Blackness” and what was once intolerance and hatred was slowly disappearing, the truth is that Barck Obama the POTUS only served to lay bear the true under belly of American Society…for many we will always be the “THEM” the “OTHER. For many we will always be the ones the real Power Mongers uses as a distraction for those small minded and ignorant whites who see Blacks as a threat and inferior… so like the pick pocket who use a distraction for the mark we are the distraction for those who harbor racism by those who seek control.

    They are dividing children and making them feel small and inconsequential as though they were an inferior group of people and their oppression was not only acceptable but Understandable it is a shame and is poisonous to this Country. But it is unfortunately not a unique tactic but one in which Black Americans are quite aware of.

    • It is so sad. Even though I am quite aware racism is still very alive, I thought our teachers and schools had moved beyond this. I was completely repulsed when I saw this on CNN. I had just laid down in bed when this came on. It so enraged me, I had to get up, find the story and blog on it. In my honest opinion, this teacher should be fired. Zero tolerance. Even if she did not initiate the game, she should have not participated but rather, use it as an opportunity to discuss racism in order to help destroy it. To teach that the color of ones skin is only that – a pigmentation. It is what is in the mind and heart which matters. This is very very sad. I thought Alabama was bad the two years I lived there… I’m so glad I don’t live in Georgia. I’m not sure how I would be able to deal with these ignorant mother-fuckers.

  2. Reblogged this on Drayton's Gazette and commented:
    Great post unfortunately the story is a sad commentary on what is happening in America. That racism that has festered beneath the surface, the fear that the white entitlement and power structure is eroding is rearing its ugly head. Blacks knew it was just beneath the surface of the social fabric of America but we had thought more people were “accepting of our Blackness” and what was once intolerance and hatred was slowly disapperaing, the truth is that Barck Obama the POTUS only served to lay bear the true under belly of American Society…for many we will always be the “THEM” the “OTHER. For many we will always be the ones the real Power Mongers uses as a distrction for those small minded and ignorant whites who see Blacks as a threatn and inferior… so like the pick pocket who use a distraction for the mark we are the distraction for those who harbor racism by those who seek control.
    They are dividing children and making them feel small and inconsequential as though they were an inferior group of people and their oppression was not only acceptable but Understandable it is a shame and is poisoneous to this Country. But it is unfortunately not a unique tactic but one in which Black Americans are quite aware of.

  3. Here we thought all this shit was behind us, and now it is rearing its ugly fucking head. Put his teacher(s) on the barge with the political assholes, and they can swap racists jokes amongst themselves. At least we won;t have to listen to it.

  4. What the HELL is going down there? Dear god I thought this kind of hideous blatant racism was behind us as well.
    Of course it still exists in public as espoused by all of the Fox News commentators and many GOP presidential/political candidates. Sadly you’d need to be a literal cretin not to notice what those bigots are saying/implying.

    But to be in a position of teacher and propagating this kind of sickness to children is beyond comprehension. At least for me; and apparently your other readers as well.
    Wonderful post. Thank you.

  5. Thanks for confirming that both incidents were in the same state. Otherwise I’d have gone looking for the earlier story.

    I suspected when Obama was elected that we were nowhere near being a postracial society, despite all the talk at the time. It’s just been buried under a mantle of political correctness. Now, with the nation enduring tough economic times and our leaders and media spewing all kinds of accusations and threats (some pointedly blaming our black president), it’s not too surprising that some people are feeling more entitled to vent their prejudices.

    That said, I still find it shocking that our teachers, of all people, are perpetuating racist attitudes.

    • True, very true. Obama becoming POTUS has really brought the racism back out from under the slimy rock. Teachers most definitely should not be a part of this at all, but rather helping to explain the ugliness and ignorance within racism. It just makes me want to scream!

  6. We have the same thing going on here in Michigan. My eighth grader came home last week talking about this same game. I immediately called the school to confront the teacher. I don’t want my child to have any part of this very insensitive game. They are preparing to have this simulation game later on this week. I refuse to let my child to be a part of this hatred…

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