News & Politics

Surprise! Learning about Cotton in School Is Racist Now

Surprise! Learning about Cotton in School Is Racist Now
(Image credit: Erbs55 via Pixabay)

I currently live in Arlington, Va., and do not vote in local elections. It’s not that I don’t want to vote, but there is literally no one even close to sniffing on the ballots who could even pretend to be anywhere close to being a conservative. The problem isn’t my lack of desire, it’s that I don’t have anyone to vote for. As one of the most progressively leftist communities in this country, my local government is completely devoid of any representation of my beliefs and values. So, I was not surprised to read ARLNow’s article about an Arlington elementary school teacher who has found herself in hot water for having her students study cotton.

According to the article:

Catherine Ashby, the Director of Communications for [Arlington Public Schools], tells ARLnow that a teacher planted cotton seeds in pots as an experiment to see how they would grow. Social media posts about the experiment from the teacher prompted objections from other educators.

“She tweeted about her experiment and what she was growing, and that’s what got other staff members upset about what she was doing,” said Ashby.

What are those objections, you ask? Well, actually, I know that since you all live in 2019 just as I do, no one is asking because everyone knows exactly what those objections are. Of course, the article goes on to reveal the obvious conclusion to this story:

One Twitter user, who said her name was R. Jones, shared a screenshot of the email. She told ARLnow that a school staff member had forwarded it to her and they were both “angry and offended” about the racial undertones of a teacher planting cotton.

“What do y’all think? Is this okay or offensive?” asked Jones on Twitter.

Oh, my word! Angry and offended about the racial undertones of a teacher planting cotton?!?

I grew up in Northwest Florida, the Panhandle. The area where I lived and went to school had quite a few cotton farms. In fact, many of my ancestors on my dad’s side were sharecroppers in lower Alabama, picking cotton in the fields for a subsistent wage. While I knew that slaves had picked cotton, I never thought of picking cotton as an activity exclusively (or even mostly) associated with slavery. Neither did my teachers.

Every fall, during cotton picking season, teachers would bring freshly picked stalks of cotton to school. Those stalks would be passed around the class with the instructions to feel the cotton and to try and pick the seeds out. At some point, the teacher would ask, “Isn’t it hard to pick the seeds out of the cotton, students?” We would roll our eyes and resist the urge to reply, “It’s the same level of difficulty as it was last year and the year before and the year before.” Instead, we would politely say, “Yes, Ms. Teacher. It is hard to pick the cotton out of the seeds.” We would then sit through our annual lesson on the invention of the cotton gin. I was all quite boring and absent of any racial undertones. It’s cotton. The stuff my jeans are made out of. Are jeans going to be considered racist now? Now that I think about it, it is 2019, so, yes, at some point this year I fully expect SJWs to announce that wearing clothing made out of cotton means you’re a racist.

We have not yet reached peak stupid, but we’re getting close.

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