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Michigan Teacher Suspended for Wearing Blackface to Give History Lecture

Hulton Archive, Getty Images

A Michigan school teacher is finding out the hard way that the assistant principal is not an Al Jolson fan.

According to reports, Monroe Middle School teacher Alan Barron was recently suspended from his duties after he showed up to give a history lecture on segregation painted in blackface.

A portion of Barron’s eighth-grade lesson included a discussion and video about how blackface was used in the 1800s by some whites in the entertainment industry to strike fear into blacks. However, on the day of the lecture, the assistant principal sat in on the class and found Barron’s teaching methods racist.

Interestingly, many parents, even those of African-America descent, have sided with Barron because they say he was just giving students a glimpse of history. “It had nothing to do with racism. History is history. We need to educate our kids to see how far we’ve come in America. How is that racism?” said parent, Adrienne Aaron.

Barron’s suspension comes just as he prepares to retire from his 36 year teaching career at the end of the school year.

What do you think: was wearing blackface to give a history lesson racist or just a creative approach to teaching?

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