The fear and overreaction that comes with hyper-sensitivity is leading us to ignore facts, forget context, and look only at the moment. That does not bode well for an educated and thoughtful society.
Case and point the reaction to the slavery question in Sun Prairie schools.
The question that got everyone in a tizzy was about historical context, reading comprehension, and a reminder of the brutality of slavery.
It read: “A slave stands before you. This slave has disrespected his master by telling him ‘You are not my master’ How will you punish this slave?”
The answer, according to Hammurabi’s code, is that you would put the slave to death.
But because the question used the word slavery, the wokesters in and around Madison lost their business.
“Slavery is a stain on our history that inflicted years of violence, murder, and created lasting effects and generational trauma that still exists in the Black community,’ Sen. Melissa Agard said in a statement. “To reduce the horrific events of a long, dark period of our history to a violent question that asks students to imagine themselves as an owner of enslaved people is deeply disturbing. The assignment that was assigned to sixth grade students [Monday] was inappropriate and racist.”
“No lesson plan, assignment, test, or quiz, should ever involve asking a student how to punish an enslaved person or another human being,” said Rep. Gary Hebl. “Assignments like this further perpetuates racial biases and shows blatant disregard for cultural competency, especially considering this came out on the first day of Black History Month. There is no excuse for how this lesson was presented.”
These lawmakers are either being intentionally stupid, or intentionally inflammatory. Likely it's both.
This question has NOTHING to do with American slavery, blacks, or the ‘racist history’ of this country. NOTHING.
Hammurabi’s code dates back to 1750 B.C., and set forth laws for the Mesopotamian empire that ranged throughout what is modern day Iraq and Syria. In addition to slavery, the code laid out rules for property, divorce, taxes, and the like.
Ancient slavery predates slavery in the United States, and is in no way connected to the African slave trade that brought people to colonial America or the United States thousands of years later.
In other words, slavery is not just an American thing. It is not just a black and white thing. And it is not always off-limits.
If we could have an honest discussion about our history, both in this country and our world, we could understand ourselves better.
No one is making excuses for slavery, it is an abhorrent institution. But it is not strictly limited to America. What is limited to America is the obsession with the legacy of slavery.
Every other country or civilization that had slavery in the past, and almost every civilization is on that list, has gotten past it. Only in America is there an industry of blaming everything on slavery, of hanging on to the antebellum past.
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