Should the KKK Be Allowed in Schools? (Response)

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{Note: I released my third book entitled, “Truth for our Youth: A Self-Empowerment Book for Teens,” on April 6, 2014. Check it out, and help me spread the word!}

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Yesterday I read a Huffington Post article entitled, “KKK In Classroom: What Can Hatred Teach Kids?”

A principal question raised by the article was should teachers bring groups like the KKK or Nazis into public schools to speak to children in an effort to teach them about hate.

This is the comment I posted:

As a former NYC public schoolteacher and person concerned with social justice, I found this article quite interesting. The question posed to us is whether it’s appropriate for teachers to educate students by inviting the KKK to classrooms. A seemingly simple question one might think, but actually more profound than it seems.

The short answer is “no.” Representatives of the Klan should not speak in public schools. For Black people especially, this organization is racist and criminal. While some contemporary branches of the Klan attempt to recast themselves as innocuous propagandists of “White Power,” they are historically responsible for mass lynchings, church burnings, and other murderous activities. Publicly supported schools should not court nor tolerate such nonsense.

We must also understand that for both children of color and their parents, the KKK represents a fringe and radical element of white supremacy; many other instruments of racial domination, discrimination and oppression operate daily within American newspapers, movies, websites, religious institutions, police precincts, and corporations plainly accessible to our youth.

The perpetual, insidious effect of these institutions upon communities of color and others is far more damaging AND instructive than a keynote from any Nazi or Klansman. Given this broad tapestry of racism, teachers already have ample material from which to teach children about racism and oppression. Perhaps these unimaginative teachers should do as I did and teach children about hatred by helping them analyze the hatred confronting them and their families right before their eyes. Teach them to identify the type of people always depicted as maids, butlers, pimps, and drug dealers in movies; Have them explore how legislation unfairly affects their communities; Take them on a field trip to compare the quality of their schools and supermarkets vs. those located in white neighborhoods; Have them compare the rate of Black and Latino incarceration; Analyze segments of biased news talk shows; Compare median incomes of people living in different zip codes. You get the point, I’m sure.

If classrooms must speak with serial killers, rapists or racists in order to understand hatred, then American schools have done a thorough job of dumbing down the minds of both students and educators.

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Agyei Tyehimba is a former NYC public schoolteacher, co-founder of KAPPA Middle School 215 in the Bronx, NY, and co-author of the Essence Bestselling book, Game Over: The Rise and Transformation of a Harlem Hustler, published in 2007 by Simon & Schuster. Agyei has appeared on C-SpanNY1 News, and most recently on the A&E documentary, The Mayor of Harlem: Alberto ‘Alpo’ Martinez.” Mr. Tyehimba is a professional consultant and public speaker providing political advice and direction for Black college student organizations, community activist groups, and nonprofit organizations. If you are interested in bringing Agyei to speak or provide consultation for your organization, please contact him at truself143@gmail.com.

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One thought on “Should the KKK Be Allowed in Schools? (Response)

  1. This is joke, right? I’m waiting for the punch line, here…
    At what point does anyone think these members of the KKK can go into a classroom and teach about anything? Their historical and CURRENT actions have given us enough material to understand hate.
    Would a Jewish school invite a former Member of Hitler’s regime to explain to Jewish children how Nazis came up with the idea of exterminating Jews and other people of color?
    Thank you, letting me know about this! This is insulting to say the least. We truly need to wake up!

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