A student at a suburban school district in Minnesota says her high school’s social studies teacher asked her to participate in an assignment where the goal was to colonize Africa. Wayzata high school where she attends has less than 7% black students, and as one of them, she wasn’t having it.
She put her school on blast in a Facebook post saying “so im in world history and our teacher tells us we playing a game. I thought it was sweet till he passes this out!!!”
The game came from a learning unit called “Race for Colonies in Africa and Education” produced by a teacher-led curriculum provider called The Center for Learning who says their mission is to “help teachers succeed in the classroom.”
The rules of the game: “Today, you are going to enter a race for colonies in Africa: however, you must claim colonies in the order below and with the limitations noted. Your goals are to get the best land, minerals, and resources that you can. Good luck.”
Apparently curriculum vetting in Minnesota is so poor no one saw how such a lesson would offend black students.
It isn’t the first problem with curriculum in the Northstar state. Last year Minneapolis Public Schools had two issues that generated public protest.
The first happened when a middle school student refused to play a social studies computer game that virtualized slavery. In that game students were asked to take the role of a slave girl who won points by being appropriately deferential during encounters with racist white southerners.
In another incident parent activists shut down school board meetings demanding Minneapolis school officials end their contract with a curriculum company that sold the district a reading series full of racially insensitive portrayals of people of color.
“Why is this okay? How does no one see the problem with this?! Literally telling a room full of white kids to go “colonialize” and take what they want is not a game and it’s not funny,”the Wayzata student wrote.
“[T]here are way more productive and less damaging ways to learn this BS. Why is this real life?”
Making matters worse, her white peers weren’t supportive. “I refused to play and my teammates caught attitudes,” she says.
Thus is the state of integration in America.
This post was republished from the Black Advocates for Education blog.