Tuesday, January 10, 2012

One Step Forward, One Hundred Years Back.

Yesterday the Seattle Times reported that Washington State Senator Steve Litzow, a Republican, has announced that he will be the first Republican in that chamber to stand up for gay marriage. Whatever his other views (and I confess I don't know what they are), it took courage and integrity to stand up to the Republican establishment, especially in the current toxic political environment. I have no doubt that other Republicans will follow his lead. Okay, so I'd be even more impressed if he put it on his website. Still, Senator Litzow, I salute you. Hang tough!

That's the state of Washington. But this is Georgia.

Here, we're a little less evolved. Here, we're still kind of working on the whole slavery thing.

You see, a Gwinnett county elementary school has been called on the carpet after several third-grade teachers attempted to combine Social Studies and Math lessons. Sounds good, no?

No. No, it went awry. Wrong. South. Deep South. 

The kids were studying Frederick Douglass, and of course that's a good thing. Things were going along just fine until the teachers had to start writing math questions to fit with the theme. Hmmm. How to combine Frederick Douglass and math? Let me see....

He's not laughing.
Oh, of course! Story problems! Those things are easy to write.

So the teachers wrote story problems for several classrooms of third-graders. They wrote story problems about slaves picking cotton and oranges. Oh, and they wrote one about Frederick Douglass himself. Here it is:
If Frederick got two beatings a day, how many beatings did he get in 1 week? 2 weeks?

Holy fucking mother of god!

And "Frederick"? Frederick  Douglass? That Frederick, the celebrated abolitionist and statesman? Referred to only by his first name?

Gwinnett County is not some little backwater hole, either. It's suburban to Atlanta, with a large minority population. Their school system is the largest in the state, with 161,000 students enrolled this year.

My head is exploding in all kinda sideways. I have to lay down.

Jesus Christ.

Bias disclosure: When I was in the third grade, I hated story problems.


  1. Anonymous10:20 PM

    Sweet mother of god, that is insanity. Honestly, I had to re-read that. One hundred years back, indeed.

  2. The mentality that produces such nastiness runs rampant in the SouthEast-including Florida-and is tacitly approved of and even encouraged by the leading males in the community. I lived it for seven years with my biracial daughter despite my in-laws having been early involved pioneers in the district for over seven decades. Un-frackingly-believable.

  3. Did you also notice that one of the Carolina's is giving money to those women whose tubes they tied involuntarily. Ugly.