Saturday 8 December 2012

OK Kids, Next Year, It's 'The Black And White Minstrel Show'..!

Pan-African human rights organisation Ligali complained to Queen Elizabeth’s Girls’ School, in High Barnet, over its use of a controversial Powerpoint presentation after a parent exposed the issue.
The slideshow, seen by the Times Series, dictates a classroom exercise in which pupils aged 13 and 14 are encouraged to carry out their own “slave raid” on the West African coast.
Students are given imaginary tools including manacles, a whip, thumb screws and iron brands, to capture as many slaves as possible before building cages on the beaches to contain them.
They are encouraged to “bribe African chieftans” and “get them drunk to buy the slaves cheaper” or, as one slide reads, “even better, have an affair with a beautiful African girl”.
Finally, every pupil is asked to give a Dragon’s Den-style business proposal to explain how they plan to capture the slaves and what they will do to control them.
 Ligali, you see, found this 'morally repugnant and disrespectful'. And hey, they ought to know!
The slideshow, adorned with what Ligali described as comical caricatures and sound effects, has been used in Year 9 lessons by a history teacher at the school for the past three years.
 And no-one turned a hair, until...
Ligali’s action arose after one student, who has African heritage, was left “offended and humiliated” by the lesson plan, created by a teacher at the High Street school. Her mother complained, and after receiving what she deemed an unsatisfactory response from the history teacher and head of department, took the issue to Ligali.
 Because they specialise in, ummm, de-escalation and polite resolution of conflict, I guess?

The head teacher immediately capitulated, and rolled out the usual platitudes:
Speaking to the Times Series this week, Mrs Webster said she had written to parents explaining the situation. She said: “I felt the slideshow was clearly inappropriate and I spoke to the teachers involved but what I said will remain private.
“I’ve been in correspondence with Ligali and I think we’ve been very clear about the mistakes that have been made. The resolution was to move on in the knowledge that lessons have been learned.
“ Clearly mistakes have been made but we have acted properly and the matter has been resolved.”
Am I the only person to wonder if what Ligali found so 'upsetting and distressing' about these lessons was the revelation that it wasn't 'just white people' involved in the slave trade after all, but other (opposing) tribes of black people?


Farenheit211 said...

It also doesn't appear to have mentioned the preponderance of Islamic slave traders who were active in Africa at the time. Remember after Britain abolished the Transatlantic Slave Trade, slaving and the bestial treatment of black slaves (some would say the equal or worse treatment with the white slave owners)which was only stopped by the British Royal Navy.

I must admit that this presentation looks a whole lot more realistic than the standard lazy 'it was whitey that did it all' line that gets pushed too often.

The involvement of Islamic nations in slave trading (even today) is an international scandal and one that deserves much more publicity than it gets.

Anonymous said...


How about a plan for the defence of a mission station at say Rourke's Drift, that will offend the buggers won't it. Or the response to Ligalli, dear sir please fuck off!

John Pickworth said...

The organisation said the “insensitive and disrespectful” class activity was “like asking a girl to plan a gang rape where the perpetrators attack her own family members or a Jewish pupil to design a profitable oven for sale to Nazi Germany for use during the holocaust”.

And there you have it, 'disrespectful'.

Notice the examples given above. Are they implying that the same lessons would be acceptable if the participants were respectively male and non-Jewish?

These groups (and I've never heard of this one before) always make the same mistake; choosing to make it about the supposed victim's skin colour or race rather than the offence. Worse, I don't see them holding up any examples of white classmates being offended. The only racism I see here is from Ligali... someone should report them to the authorities.

DJ said...

Strikes me that the average Zanu-Ligali member is already well-qualified at gang rapes.

Curiously enough, none of these 'anti racist' organisations never object to that. Mind you, I'm guessing there's more chance of Elvis stopping by than one of these schools ever allowing the words 'Barbary Pirates' to be mentioned.

Anonymous said...

How about the reason BOs Kenyan father was Muslim was becausevof his tribes close trade affiliation with Arab exporters?

Anonymous said...

I object too.

The lesson reinforces the myth that the slaves were captured by the white slave traders rather than by theor fellow Africans. It reinforces the myth that the Black sellers were somehow easier to bribe and cheat and consequently not equal partners to the sin.

For that alone this lesson should not have been given

JuliaM said...

"It also doesn't appear to have mentioned the preponderance of Islamic slave traders who were active in Africa at the time. "

Well, indeed!

It's not something they've given up either, is it? Not when you look at how domestic staff are treated in Saudi.

"And there you have it, 'disrespectful'."

Implying that 'respect' is the default setting. I was always taught it should be earned.

"Curiously enough, none of these 'anti racist' organisations never object to that."

Puzzling, eh?