A 10th-grade U.S. history class in Concord, Massachusetts, forced students to comment on how “systemic racism” “impacted” George Floyd’s life.
According to the organization Parents Defending Education (PDE), a history class at Concord Carlisle High School assigned students to read a Washington Post article about George Floyd’s life. The article is titled, “Born with Two Strikes: How Systemic Racism Shaped Floyd’s Life and Hobbled his Ambition.” The article argues that the strictures of “systemic racism” led to Floyd’s death.
The lesson, which was titled “Race in the Post-Civil Rights Era: George Floyd, Black Lives and the Persistence of Racial Inequality,” asked students to read another Washington Post article on “systemic racism” in housing, education, the economy, law enforcement, or health care.
The assignment did not allow students to question the existence of “systemic racism,” but instead taught it as fact.
Nicole Neily, the president of PDE, told The Federalist that students are not provided an opportunity to engage with the subject matter critically as they’re often pressed to “comply for a good grade.”
“Students are getting these assignments now where they’re very clearly being told what their political perspective is,” Neily said.
Students were asked to create a slide on the effects of “systemic racism” on their institution. PDE obtained a sample slide provided in the classroom. Students were asked, “How does the system or institutions that your article focuses on (education, health care, etc.) serve to create or maintain racial inequality?”
The largest section of the slide asked students to discuss how systemic racism impacted Floyd’s life.
“Here talk about how George Floyd’s life was impacted by the system or institution,” the slide read. “How did it impact him on a personal level? How did it shape how his life unfolded? What did George Floyd do to deal with this system or institution? What decisions did he make in response? How did this decision matter?”
The Washington Post article assigned to students was also notably political. The author claimed that “systemic racism” “continually undercut” Floyd’s ambitions to be a Supreme Court justice or a professional athlete.
“George Perry Floyd came of age as the strictures of Jim Crow discrimination in America gave way to an insidious form of systemic racism, one that continually undercut his ambitions,” the article read.
The article continued:
Throughout his lifetime, Floyd’s identity as a Black man exposed him to a gantlet of injustices that derailed, diminished, and ultimately destroyed him, according to an extensive review of his life based on hundreds of documents and interviews with more than 150 people, including his siblings, extended family members, friends, colleagues, public officials, and scholars. The picture that emerges is one that underscores how systemic racism has calcified within many of America’s institutions, creating sharply disparate outcomes in housing, education, the economy, law enforcement, and health care.
During the trial of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, Floyd’s girlfriend Courteney Ross detailed his opioid addiction. Ross said that the two became addicted to opioids four years ago after obtaining them for chronic pain. After the prescriptions ran dry, they turned to illegal drug use. Floyd was hospitalized for several days for a drug overdose when he was unemployed during the coronavirus lockdown.
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