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Here’s the Black History Month Video That Was Banned by Virginia School District

Well, it looks like black people can’t even manage 28 days of history without stirring up some kind of trouble. A Virginia school district has banned a four-minute film shown for Black History Month because parents complained that it was “too divisive”:

Henrico County public schools officials initially defended the decision to show it, saying the video was “one component of a thoughtful discussion in which all viewpoints were encouraged.”

But after the story began to spread nationally, school officials switched gears, labeling the video “racially divisive” two days later.

“The Henrico School Board and administration consider this to be a matter of grave concern,” School Board Chair Micky Ogburn said in a statement released to The Washington Post. “We are making every effort to respond to our community. It is our goal to prevent the recurrence of this type of event. School leaders have been instructed not to use the video in our schools.”

Now, I know everybody likes to beat up on white people, but black history can be tough to watch, particularly for children. I’m sure there must have been graphic depictions of slavery and lynchings and white people spitting on little girls trying to get to school and police cracking skulls on the Edmund Pettis Bridge. Who wants their kids watching all of that?

Wait, what? This cartoon has white people in an uproar? It depicts all 400 years of slavery and Jim crow as a crouch at the starting gate, which is probably as kind as a film has been to that period since Birth of a Nation. If anything, this cartoon takes it pretty easy on white people, even giving a shout-out to discrimination against white women at the end.

Maybe the best response here would be for the African American Policy Forum, which produced the video five years ago, to do a whole series called “Black Schoolhouse Rock,” with catchy tunes and lovable mascots like the 13th Amendment. “Slavery Rock” practically writes itself: “I find it quite interesting, a slave’s a person and a thing.”

For crying out loud, it’s one month, and it’s the shortest month. Is this really the hill that white people want to die on? Four hundred years of slavery and oppression, but you had to watch a four-minute cartoon? Eff outta here.

This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.

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