It was brought to my attention in class today that you believe that my teaching Fredrick Douglass’ Narrative is me teaching hate. I am writing this in response to your statement.
Fredrick Douglass was a slave; an educated slave at that. He struggled the adversities that come with slavery and being a Black man in America. Said struggles are things that you as a white woman can never even begin to understand. Technically, by assigning Douglass’ Narrative, I am teaching hate. However, I am not teaching it in the way that you insist I am. Instead, I am teaching the history of the hatred faced by the Black community during the time of slavery as well as in the present day. Interestingly enough, the mere fact that you are getting so worked up about something written about an event that happened even before you were born just goes to show how current the issues written in Douglass’ Narrative are.
I am teaching you Black history, without which, none of us would be here.
Saying that Douglass’ writing is an “attack upon you and all white people in America”, is laughable. I have no other words to put this statement in. As a white woman living in America in the 20th century, I doubt there is really any attack that can ever be made upon you. You cannot attack the privileged because there is no way to attack someone who has all the power. I understand that as a woman, however, there are still many adversities you face given your gender and its stance in society, but this in no way can compare to the adversities faced by the Black community, given that you are still white. You cannot in any way say that Douglass’ writing is an attack upon the white people of America since Douglass is simply writing of the white people’s attack on the Black people of America. It was white people, who enslaved Douglass, not Douglass who enslaved white people.
It was white people who beat Douglass till he feared he would bleed out, and not Douglass who beat the white people.
It was white people who starved Douglass and left him unclothed and worked to exhaustion, and not Douglass to the white people.
It was the white people who exerted their self-assigned superiority over Black people for centuries in order to fulfill their personal agenda of wealth, and not the other way around.
This is not an attack upon all the white people of America, this is merely a telling of your history.
My intentions in assigning this book to this class were to open my student’s minds to the adversities faced by the Black community. Not many schools teach lessons on slavery, and it is an absolute shame that they don’t. It is such an integral part of the history of America that is often ignored because of the image it paints on America. In ignoring its history of genocide and slavery, America becomes the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. Once we open our eyes to said horrors committed by the early Americans, specifically white people, we become the Land of the Enslaved and Home of the Murdered-in-Cold-Blood. This does not have quite the same ring to it as does the former.
It is important for people to be educated on the horrors of slavery, for those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.
Because of this, I would appreciate it if you would think before you speak next time.