The discussion of the kid who wanted to wear the Obama mask reminds me of a South Park episode.
In the episode, the city (South Park) was considering changing its city flag because some people found the flag offensive. The flag depicted a black stick-figure being lynched, and several white stick-figures standing around (presumably doing the lynching).
(Aside edit ... yes, it's offensive ... that's South Park for you. Nothing is sacred, and the writers of the show go out of their way to be offensive. That's part of the point of the show.)
The teacher in the show took this opportunity to educate the kids, and asked the kids to prepare a debate about whether or not the flag should be changed. The kids said no. Of course, those of you who know the show can imagine that Chef was outraged. "How can you say that?" he asked. "I thought you were my friends."
The kids said, "Murder is part of human history, and we shouldn't try to hide it just because some people think it's offensive." Turns out the kids didn't even notice the racial aspect of the flag. They thought every one was upset because it depicted murder, not because of the (obvious) racial offense. Because the kids are so far removed from the days of lynching, they didn't even see it.
When I heard the story about the kid in the Obama mask, yes, the first thing that popped into my head was the old minstrel shows with the black face. But that's because I studied Theater History, and I am 40. I doubt most (any?) 11-year-olds have ever seen a minstrel show, and few would "get" the racial offenses they depicted. I suspect none of the kids at the school, and probably few of the parents, would see a white kid wearing a black face. Most would see a kid imitating and poking fun at the President.
And, as many posters have said, if someone is offended ... great! It's an opportunity for education, teaching the kids that there was a time in our nation's history when a white man wearing a black mask said something very specific -- and very degrading -- about blacks. And halleluia that we don't live in that time any more.
Anyway, great program. Thanks.
posted 4 years, 3 months ago
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