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Teacher Accused Of Making Students ‘Ashamed To Be Caucasian’ By Assigning Ta-Nehisi Coates

Teacher Accused Of Making Students ‘Ashamed To Be Caucasian’ By Assigning Ta-Nehisi Coates

by September 16, 2023 0 comments

By: Summer

Is This A Legitimate Gripe, Or Are White Students Being Too Sensitive?

Writer Ta-Nehisi Coates on MSNBC (screengrab)

A group of students in South Carolina reported their own teacher for purportedly making them feel ashamed to be white because they had to read author Ta-Nehisi Coates’ acclaimed memoir, “Between the World and Me.”

The Washington Post reports that English teacher Mary Wood was reported to her local school board for purportedly violating a state law that prohibits teachers from making students “feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress” as a result of their race.

In particular, one student described Coates’ book as “reading hate propaganda towards white people,” while another said the book made them feel “ashamed to be Caucasian.”

She was subsequently ordered to immediately stop teaching Coates’ work and was given a formal letter of reprimand.

However, this wasn’t enough for some parents in the district, who came to school board meetings to demand that Wood be fired.

While Wood is still employed by her school, the Post reports that she feels a chilling effect that makes her reluctant to take up any lesson that might be deemed controversial.

“For Wood, teaching authentically means assigning writers like Coates – voices unfamiliar, even disconcerting, to students in her lakeside town,” the Post writes. “Because of what happened last year, though, Wood now worried anything, from the most provocative essay to the least interesting comment about her weekend, might be resisted, recorded, and reported by the children she was supposed to be teaching.”

The report goes on to detail how surprised Wood was by the attacks given that she was teaching an advanced-placement English course to high school students and wasn’t pitching Coates’ work to unassuming elementary school students.


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