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Spokane, Wash. Middle School Gives Class Cotton Picking Assignment. Black Kids in the Class Are Like, 'Uh...No.'


Illustration for article titled Spokane, Wash. Middle School Gives Class Cotton Picking Assignment. Black Kids in the Class Are Like, 'Uh...No.'
Photo: OlgaKan (Shutterstock)

There are just some “educators” out there whose whole careers revolve around the reading of books, yet they haven’t bothered learning how to read a room. Clearly, they have missed the numerous news stories involving teachers giving their students ill-advised slavery-based assignments that made Black students uncomfortable at best and left them completely mortified at worst. Somehow, they appear to be completely unaware that racism—especially as it relates to education—is currently among the hottest of hot-button issues and that it behooves them to think critically about the activities they assign their classes, particularly when they have Black students and students of color in attendance.

In Spokane, Wash.—a city that’s already on notice for giving Rachel Dolezal an NAACP career—a Black family is demanding the removal of a school administrator who they said offered to remove two 14-year-old twin Black girls from a classroom in response to their discomfort over a cotton picking assignment given to their class.

From the Associated Press:

Taylor Skidmore, assistant principal at Sacajawea Middle School, offered to remove the 14-year-old twins from their social studies class when their mother called to raise concerns about the cotton lesson, according to a statement Wednesday from ACLU of Washington and TeamChild, a legal firm.

Mother Brandi Feazell said she was shocked at Skidmore’s suggestion to segregate her daughters from their class.

“As two of the only three Black students in the class that day, my daughters already felt singled out during an activity that required them to clean cotton,” Brandi Feazell said. “Separating them from the rest of the class would only compound their pain and isolation and do nothing to change the racist culture and policies that led to this inappropriate and harmful lesson in the first place.”

According to AP, Spokane Public Schools explained in a statement that the students were learning about the industrial revolution and the cotton gin, which might lead some wypipo people to believe this was just an innocent activity and that the Black people subjected to it are making too big a deal out of things—but that just brings us back to READING THE FUCKING ROOM!

You’re telling me that an educator couldn’t foresee how slapping raw cotton upon a Black student’s desk and telling them to clean that shit might turn into an issue? According to the twins, the teacher turned the assignment into a game to see who could pick the cotton the fastest. You mean to tell me this “educator” didn’t think for a second about how it might look if one of the few Black students in a classroom full of white kids ended up winning the cotton-picking race? If I’m a student in that class, I’m about to be the slowest negro in the field...I mean classroom because there is just no fucking way.

Then there’s the fact that, according to one of the girls, the teacher had the nerve to reference slavery while handing out this racist-ass assignment.

“The teacher kept saying, ‘We don’t need slaves anymore,’” she said. “That really hurt because it felt like she was saying there was a time when slavery was OK.”


According to AP, “The twins have been out of school since the cotton lesson and do not feel comfortable going back until the incident is addressed.”

The school district said in its statement that administrators “take all complaints very seriously and are committed to investigating them fully.” The district also mentioned that “There are conflicting reports regarding this incident,” and that “Once the third-party investigation is completed, we look forward to coming back to share the outcomes.”

These “educators” are out of their cotton-picking minds. (Sorry, I had to.) Next time, just take the kids to see a damn cotton gin...or just stick to book-reading. Or whatever, just know that this shit here ain’t it...at all. 

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