An eighth-grade teacher at San Francisco’s Creative Arts Charter School brought cotton plants in to show her class the sharp edges of the shrubs while teaching about slavery in the U.S., as well as the cotton gin and its impact on enslavement and the Industrial Revolution.

The social studies teacher, who is not being named by The San Francisco Chronicle, was not at school for five weeks after the controversial lesson, which was investigated within 24 hours of the incident. The report says that the school would not confirm if the teacher’s absence was due to a suspension.

San Francisco teacher under fire after reportedly using cotton plants to teach about slavery (

The best history teacher I ever had and the one responsible for me to actually like the subject, was one that forsake the traditional ways of memorizing dates, people and events and immersed us in the times we were studying. We made us research (via the newspapers of the time we were involved with) what was to be a normal person then. How much things cost, how much the average person made, how travel was made, what kind of health care was available, what do people die of, etc. It made us find context and realize the importance of any even we were studying.

This is what this apparently punished teacher was doing. I have seen cotton plants in film and photos, but never touched one so even if it does take a lot of imagination to figure out the frigging thorns and sharp edges would hurt, it is not the same as actually manipulating the darn thing to feel the consequences of manipulating it. I bet those kids that got to touch the shrubs, will see slavery in a very new and powerful light.

But there is always one woke fly in the ointment:

A Creative Arts parent, Rebecca Archer, who is Black and Jewish, was concerned about the lesson for her mixed-race children. She expressed fears that the lesson, which put the raw cotton in the children’s hands, could “evoke so many deeply hurtful things about this country.”

“There are people who think this lesson plan promotes empathy; I’ve heard that and understand that,” said Archer. “There are a lot of people who don’t understand why it’s hurtful or offensive.”

Somewhere in the last half a century, the idea that lessons (all kinds) must be soft, cuddly and harmless has taken possession of the people’s brains. We must be careful not to hurt anybody’s sensibilities and must avoid or rewrite history to do so. Of course, Life does not give a damn about how you feel and provides very hurtful events that you could have avoided if you were taught properly. Santayana was right and History does repeat itself because there are new generations that need to be taught the hard, painful and deadly way.

Hat Tip Royko

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By Miguel.GFZ

Semi-retired like Vito Corleone before the heart attack. Consiglieri to J.Kb and AWA. I lived in a Gun Control Paradise: It sucked and got people killed. I do believe that Freedom scares the political elites.

7 thoughts on “Teaching history the right way might be too problematic in SanFran.”
  1. How about my white grandmother who, as a small child of a share cropper, walked the fields and picked cotton alongside the adults back in the 1920’s? It ain’t all about slaves and black people and BLM and 1619. White people worked hard too, sometimes for poverty wages. But OMG slavery is bad. I’m with Lincoln, free them all and send them back to Africa (a popular opinion of the time that probably doesn’t make it into too many history books).

  2. “evoke so many deeply hurtful things about this country.”
    I say: Good! What is that meme again???
    Something about “History is not there for you to like or dislike. It’s there for you to learn from.”
    (Found it:
    Someone had gone on further to say the more offended you are by history, the less likely you are to repeat it. Hiding from the past is a good way to repeat the horrific things that have happened. They best way to avoid that is to evoke deeply hurtful things from the past

  3. Fuck that last woman. In Hebrew school we watched Schindler’s List and had Holocaust survivors talk to us. The Synagogue elders wanted us to know what happened in detail so we took the gravity of it seriously.

    For a Jewish woman to want ugly history softened is terrible. It’s the antithesis of why history is taught.

  4. When I was in junior high history, I was one of 2 teams who had to present on slavery. I was on the pro-slavery team. We really struggled to come up with (what we thought were) rational arguments to owning people. It was illuminating.

    (He also convinced many of us that, as buffalo were extinct, movies used cows in buffalo suits.

    A history teacher in my sons’ middle school set up her classroom to mimic the Continental Congress when they were debating independence. The class was divided into 13 teams representing the 13 colonies. Each team had to make their points pro- and anti-independence. It made the kids think. I’m just sorry that neither of my sons were in her class.

  5. WTH??
    What’s “hurtful” about that??

    How many Holocaust deniers would you have nipped in the bud if they’d spent a field day trip at Auschwitz?

    Who’d be chanting about “rounding up _______-Americans”, after the class field trip to Manzanar?

    History is supposed to shake you up, and clue your larval pre-adult brain into learning that everything that ever was didn’t happen since you were born, and that life isn’t all fuzzy bunnies laying chocolate eggs and unicorns pooping strawberry-scented rainbows.

    A class should pass around a few Minie balls, and imagine what that felt like when they were flying back and forth between ranks of blue and gray soldiers one afternoon at Antietam or Gettysburg or Chicamauga. They should feel a handful of jagged steel shrapnel, while sitting in the rain and mud in a rat-infested trench, while learning about World War I.

    They should have to dig a row with a sharp wooden stick while learning about what a technological revolution the plow was. They should card sheep’s wool by hand, and spin it into yarn, and see a hand loom, and a blacksmith pounding out simple metal items, before they learn about the Industrial Revolution.

    They should be forced to go an entire day in a world lit only by fire, for heat and light and cooking. No a/c, no electric lights, no microwave meals, no electronics whatsoever. Write on wax tablets with a stylus, carve cuneiform letters into clay tablets, and write entire essays in longhand and an inkwell with a quill onto parchment, to understand the revolution of the printing press. The shock would be a healthy one. They should have to sift wheat to make flour, pound dough for bread, and eat nothing but the loaves they bake themselves, along with dried fish or beef and some dried fruit, and try a day on the “How It Was Everywhere From 4000 B.C. until 1900 A.D. Diet”. And learn firsthand the difference salt, pepper, and other condiments would make in such a bland diet, before they learned about the Spice Trade.

    Their little mush-brained skulls might absorb a bit if allowed to use more than only their reading skills to glean the lessons their hands and tongues and bellies would teach them, and their imaginations would explode.

    If they gave Oscars for teaching, that teacher should be nominated for one.

  6. Back in the sixties, my high school American History teacher required us to “learn” only one date, July 4, 1776. He felt it was much more important to understand the general period and what was happening ccontemporaneously, and the cultural and political environment that led to the event(s) being studied.

    When I was in elementary school, a fellow student brought in some cotton blossoms for show and tell. Yes, those dried petals(?) that surrounded the bole were darned sharp. And yes, we discussed slavey as part of the exercise.

  7. Back in elementary school some of the kids came from the migrant camp. They picked cotton. When they got big enough They weren’t scarred, they were paid. Their parents let them keep the money. I was jealous because I didn’t have any job and so I had no money. No allowance before you ask.

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