A North Carolina middle school teacher is under fire for an assignment asking students a troubling question about slavery.
Parents of students at Kannapolis Middle School were furious when a social studies teacher asked kids to determine how many black slaves would be “equal to” four white people in pre-Civil War America, according to WSOC TV.
The teacher claimed that she was trying to teach kids about the Three-Fifths Clause in the original U.S. Constitution.
But parents were incensed over the teacher’s question, calling it insensitive and out of touch.
One mother told the news station that she confronted the school’s superintendent and principal about the assignment.
“It angers me that our children are being subject to such insensitive and disgusting assignments in this day and age,” the parent said.
Another parent insisted that the school needs to initiate some “sensitivity training.”
A spokesperson for the Kannapolis City School System, Ellen Boyd, apologized for the mess: “That was not an appropriate assignment, so we immediately reached out to the parent personally — the superintendent, the principal and others at the school — to apologize.”
Boyd also noted that the teacher has been disciplined over the incident.
“We hope this is an eye-opening experience, not for people directly involved, but for everyone in the school district,” Boyd added.
The school also said that the grades on the assignment won’t be included in final grades.
Of course, the whole assignment is off base. The Three-Fifths Clause did not assign “worth” to whites and blacks as individual beings.
In fact, the Three-Fifths Clause was an anti-slavery measure because it actually took power away from the slave owners. The clause only dealt with assigning representation in Congress and maintained that a slave was worth only three-fifths of a citizen in assigning the number of members of the federal House of Representatives a state would get.
The slavers wanted their property to count as a full person in congressional district counts so that they would have more power in Congress. Northerners, though, objected to that since the south would not allow their slaves to vote.
As you can see, the Three-Fifths Clause was not a way to demean blacks, but was a way to take power away from those who would demean blacks.
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