Thu | Feb 20, 2020

Teacher erred on context, perspective

Published:Monday | April 16, 2018 | 12:06 AM



As a Jamaican of African and European ancestry, I believe that Hillel Academy erred when it set the slavery assignment from a European perspective. Knowing the country where the school is located, the teacher involved should have had the foresight to anticipate a negative reaction from the pupils, their parents, and the Jamaican public.

The teacher should have set the assigned from the perspective of the African slave. Had the assignment asked the pupils to list the means by which the slaves could gain their freedom; how to persuade the slave owners to be less brutal to their slaves, or to chart a path to emancipation, I'm confident that the reaction of Jamaicans would have been less negative.

Personally, I see a paradox between European civility and their enslavement of Africans, not to mention the extermination of the Arawak and other Native Americans. Genocide isn't a shining example of civility.