Thursday, August 4, 2011

Monkey See, Monkey Do?

So, a few months ago, I read this really smart post on Cocoamamas about a teacher who read Caps for Sale to her class and had the students pretend to be monkeys. The blogger/mother had a big problem with it and said so. At the time, I pondered the situation and thought that I would probably say something to the teacher, too. After all, she probably didn't even know that it might be problematic for black children to act like a monkey. Strike that. She probably didn't consider it. Know it she should, especially in this day of Tea Parties and Presidential ape pictures. One of the commenters asked if the teacher should also prevent overweight children from acting like elephants or hippos. Um, yes. Teaching children shouldn't make you as naive as one. Reading her post got my pressure up a little. I'd have to say something to this teacher, I thought.

And then I visit our new classroom and guess which "mascot" the teacher has chosen for her class this year? No, seriously. Monkeys. Clearly, she was doing an alliteration thing with her name, which begins with an M. Still, I just stared at the surplus of monkeys hanging around (ha!) and shook my head. Am I going to have be the belligerent black mama right off the bat? Is that what the teacher is going to think if I say something? Do I say something to my child to offset this? I don't know, and The Hubby thinks that this is not a battle worth fighting. That we'll have others and should cool it until they arise. But then I think, if I were the teacher and choose the black panthers as my classroom theme, calling the students black panthers, would a white parent bring it to my attention?

I've decided not to make it a big issue right now. I mean, I can't very well demand that this woman take down all her lovely apes after she spent who knows how much time preparing her classroom. Wait--can I? No, no, I can't. But I will bring it up during the parent/teacher conference or some other one-on-one. I hope this isn't the beginning of something crazy.

No comments: