This is the first word that comes to mind when considering the situation where teachers at a middle school were fired for teaching Black History. Then, the situation evolves into something worse. As I read along, it comes out that Howard University Middle School is on the campus of a HBCU (Howard University). Not only that, it is also known that the principal, Angelicque Blackmon, fired said teachers in front of the students. To say that this caused an uproar is keeping things euphemistic.
Howard University Middle School – The Breakdown
However, as the situation unfolds a little more, I know fully understand HOW a principal could have the gall to fire teachers without little notice and recourse. Let me break down a few things that needs to be understood about this situation:
1.) Howard University Middle School of Mathematics and Science is a charter school – Here is what people need to get into their minds at the moment: this is a charter school we are referring to. You know these schools are nowadays being touted as the safe havens for many African Americans that are tired of the “same ole, same ole” with public schools and such. Since having teachers working in an “at will” environment, their jobs are “at the will of their superiors”. So, they can be fired at any given moment for any reason.
People tend to forget about that part. We need to keep this in mind the next time we actually have a chance to really have a conversation about charter schools.
2.) There is a chance that the parents will be ignored – Well, I don’t think they will be fully scoffed at. However, Howard University Middle School of Mathematics and Science reserves the right to not actually explore the situation with the public. Again, this is a charter school. Usually, there is no school board for the parents to go to. There is no realistic take on what may happen. The principal may actually listen. Or, the principal can professionally tell the parents to take their concerns elsewhere.
Again: they reserve the right to not have to explain themselves.
Then again, it is time to get into the uglier issues about this situation.
3.) This is not a good look for Howard University – The oxymoronic nature of this moronic situation is not going to earn more fans for the HBCU. It has to be extremely sad that a university, with a population that is overwhelmingly Black, will house a charter school that fires teachers for teaching Black History. I’m not sure if the principal thought this situation through. But let me help with a few analogies to drive home my oxymoronic madness of it all:
- Do you think a worker at McDonalds would get fired for making cheeseburgers?
- Would you expect a stripper to be released from her gentleman’s club for making it precipitate with dollars so much that the visual in the establishment became blurry from federal notes?
- I am not sure a car salesman would get fired for selling a hundred cars in a month.
- Was Kobe Bryant released for helping the Lakers win 5 championships?
And yes, these examples are exaggerated. Then again, the idea of something like this happening would have to be an exaggeration of illogical proportions to the mind of someone that is halfway sane.
4.) This situation is another example of historical whitewashing – The bad part about this whitewashing of history is that it was done at the hands of a Black principal at a middle school on the campus of a HBCU. The odds of this happening are pretty low. And when I say “low”, I am leaning towards the “improbably impossible” range of low.
Yet, here we are. We are in the middle of another situation of the whitewashing of history. People usually try to ignore these references as “over exaggerated” and “unreal”. Now, people can witness this aberration happening where we should least expect it. I would have understood this happening somewhere in Texas. But on the campus of a HBCU? That can be considered disrespectful.
5.) Respectability Politics may have won (again) – My repetition of the phrase respectability politics is probably becoming cliché. Still, it says a lot when this phrase rears its ugly head. This is just another case of appeasing others through self-mitigation. What would be the sensible explanation of NOT learning Black History on a Black campus in a middle school that houses a population that has a Black majority? The principal is obviously trying to serve “her superiors” (even if they exist in her own mind). And her superiors obviously don’t want her to allow something that is obviously needed: an understanding about our true and vibrant history amongst the Black youth.
Howard University Middle School – The Epilogue
I would hope that these five points will resonate among those that actually have a discussion about what race, history, and school environments will play in the foreseeable future. At some point, a change has to come. It won’t come by sitting on our thumbs. It definitely won’t come in the form of schools choosing to ignore what is real and necessary. It will come as soon as we handle our responsibilities for the sake of our community’s progress. Anything less is uncivilized.