On Friday night, teachers at the American Battlefield Trust’s Teacher Institute sat down for an informal “think tank” to share their experiences in the classroom. One of the questions that guided the discussion: “What biases do you think your students bring when they enter your room for the first time?”
Of the 54 responses, here’s what I could write down before the discussion moved onward:
What Confederate flag stands for and represents
They dislike history; it’s old, boring, all about dates and it does not apply to today.
About the Civil War. None really, They walk in totally ignorant.
Everyone in the Confederacy was a “bad guy” because of their actions
All public school teachers are far-left liberals
Defensiveness of heritage—both Confederate and race
White privilege—very affluent
Their parents’ political views
News from today and home. Everything is labeled as racism without knowing what that means.
That they’ve heard it already and know it
Everyone in the south was bad and wanted slavery
We won they lost, Union saved, move on.
Racisim is what it’s all about.
That Global Warming is caused by southern pride
Confederacy is cool. Flag is cool. Slavery is cool. Texas is the country they pledge to. Texas could obviously secede and be fine.
History is boring, they are all dead, who cares, this doesn’t impact me so why do we need this, or MERICA!
Some believe that school is not a safe space.
They care about current events but don’t understand how the past connects to it or how history relates to their lives.
All that slavery and racists stuff is done. We don’t have that now.
They think it is boring. Why do they need it?
They might know Lincoln was assassinated, so south = bad/north = good