Education Policy & Practice

Hey kids, what do O.J. Simpson, Dennis Rodman, and RuPaul have in common?

Posted on: March 6, 2010

Apparently, three white male teachers at Wadsworth Avenue Elementary School in South LA think that O.J. Simpson, Dennis Rodman, and RuPaul are appropriate role models and should have been paraded during a Black History Month celebration.  Wadsworth’s students are largely black and Latino. 

This is more than just a case of “poor judgment.” First, the mere fact that these teachers chose O.J., Rodman, and RuPaul is problematic on multiple levels. Forget, for a moment, that these three individuals are incrusted with controversy, and question the exemplification of contemporary entertainment/pop culture/athletic figures as role models.  The Grios 100 would have been a much better source, for example, of black role models today. 

Second, I refuse to believe that the the three white male teachers were that stupid or naive or “unaware” to think that this was OK, which then leads me to ponder the alternative.

Third, it wasn’t just one teacher; three teachers were involved!  

Finally, an immediate 3-day suspension is insufficient. Believe me, this kind of “poor judgment” happens all the time, everywhere. Due process?  I’m over due process.

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