Friday, March 22, 2013

Just A Girl

Image from Milwaukee Public Television site,

So…after the debacle of Black History Month, Viva came home this week and told us that her class is now studying women’s history.  Because March is Women’s History Month.

“But it’s already mid-March,” I said. “And Spring Break starts next week!”

“I know, right?” said Viva.  “But I don’t really care because I’m kind of sick of learning about history.”

 “Happy Women’s History Month Week,” I said, snorting. “Okay, I know you are over it because of Black History Month [which felt like it lasted 10 weeks in our house], but women’s history is pretty cool. And I doubt that Mr. B_____ is going to focus on anything particularly violent.”*

“Oh my God, let’s hope not,” Viva said.

“So who are you learning about?” I asked.

“Nobody yet. He made us do research to find three women who made a difference in history, and he made it really hard.”

“What was so hard about it?”

“He wouldn’t let us use any of the women we learned about during Black History Month! So you’re not allowed to use Oprah, Michelle Obama, Sojourner Truth…”**

“So who did you find?”

“I don’t remember their names. I think one was a lawyer?” Okay, I got on her a little bit about that, but I figured there would be more to the assignment and this would be reinforced.

And then, two days into Women’s History Month Week, her teacher took the rest of the week off, going out of town to start his Spring Break early. 

Sorry, Mr. B____, but you get a FAIL from this child of the ‘70s, Free-to-Be-You-and-Me lovingSeven Sisters College-educated, 40-something feminist. I am the great-great-granddaughter of slaves, so I appreciate the Black History focus, but give my African-American daughter equal time to learn and appreciate the contributions of women to our history.  
By the way, I did a little Google research and found a variety of links about teaching kids about women’s history. Here’s one I think we’ll be using at home...perhaps during Spring Break, before Women's History Month is actually over. It's pretty incredible to me that in just a few minutes on Google I found lesson plan after lesson plan that her teacher could use, and yet it appears that the kids in my daughter's class are only getting two days of women's history.
* Which, my God, let’s face it –doesn’t mean he couldn’t focus on violence against women if he wanted to. Lord knows there’s enough of it. And let’s not forget that the violence that was perpetrated against African Americans during slavery and post-emancipation was certainly not limited to the men. It makes chills run up my spine to think about the horrors that were done to female slaves.
** Yes, she did say Oprah first. Lord, give me strength.

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