Things That Matter

An LA School Handed Out A Map To Help Students Learn The Capitals But Many Say It Had A Blatantly Racist Message

Fifth graders at Downey Unified School District in Los Angeles were given a map of the United States with the letters C-A-N-T across the southern border to indicate immigrants “can’t just cross it.” Parents of students at the school were fuming and felt the study guide was racist. 

The letters represented the states California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. The acronym is intended to be a mnemonic device but it was the phrase “you can’t just cross the border of the U.S.” accompanying the image that left parents upset. The Southeast Los Angeles city is largely Latinx, so the assignment struck a nerve.

Erick Galindo of LAist looked into how this study guide found its way into a classroom, and things got messy from there.  

The study guide was downloaded by a fifth-grade teacher from a website.

Galindo found that the study guide, 50 States and Capitals, was created by a teacher in San Francisco with information pulled from a YouTube channel by someone named Ms. Alexander. A teacher at Downey Unified school bought the guide from Teachers Pay Teachers, a marketplace where teachers can buy and sell syllabus materials. 

The teacher did not review it before they handed it out to students over Veterans Day weekend. Parents were furious when they saw it and aired their grievances on social media. 

“This kind of stuff needs to f——— stop,” Jose, a parent of a student at the school, told LAist

The district stopped handing out the guide and is now reviewing how educators audit third-party teaching materials. Teachers Pay Teachers has also stopped selling the guide. 

“I was concerned that she had gotten something like that,” Emily said. “I grew up here. I have a kid who goes to school here. It’s scary.” Emily was one of the parents who called the district office, where she said a representative told her they were handling it.

The district is proactively taking steps to address the situation.

According to LAist, the school immediately spoke with parents of students who used the handout and apologized. The district won’t publicly reveal which teachers used it, although they insist there will be consequences for the educator.  

“Obviously, the structural elements of this worksheet did not convey an inclusive environment,” said Ashley Greaney, the district’s public relations coordinator. ” As an inclusive district, we absolutely do not condone any type of content that is not inclusive in nature.” 

The assistant superintendent educator Wayne Shannon said it was nonunique for teachers to be using third-party websites but that every now and then a teacher may make a poor selection. Shannon said teachers must now fully review anything they hand out to children. Some parents wondered if the district was doing enough, and feared the study guide might just end up in different schools. 

“We need to talk about it,” Jose said. “We can’t be quiet about it. This is a big deal. It a perfect example of how this stuff is so normal, or else it wouldn’t be happening in Downey,” Jose explained. 

LAist finds the YouTube series that inspired the “CANT” map.

Galindo was able to track down the school teacher selling the guide, Brian Louie. Louie declined to comment but said the lesson plan was based on online resources. Several YouTube videos had similar mnemonic devices. 

A woman who goes by Ms. Alexander appeared to mirror the handout nearly identically. 

“The very first thing we are going to start with is ‘can’t,'” Ms. Alexander as she writes C-A-N-T on each letter’s accompanying state. “This is the Mexican border, you can’t cross the border without the right paperwork.”

Many parents in the comments of the YouTube wanted to know what the purpose was of having any commentary about the border at all when it was irrelevant to the assignment. Teachers Pay Teachers quickly addressed the issue, although there’s no way to know how far the guide has circulated. 

“We take resource quality and offensive content very seriously,” Kristin Hodgson of Teachers Pay Teacher told LAist. “It’s extremely important to us that Teachers Pay Teachers’ resources make educators and their students feel respected and safe. If anyone becomes aware of TpT content that may be offensive, they can use our community flagging tool to report the resource to us for review.”

The website relies on a peer-review process to flag any inappropriate or incorrect content. The Downey Unified District reported the lesson plan on the website and it was promptly taken down, and the page for the guide is now no longer available. As for the parents, they remain skeptical that YouTube is a good source of information for students. 

“I can’t imagine what’s happening in other schools,” Lisa, a parent of one of the students, said. “How does a YouTube video become homework?”

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“Sister, Sister” Actress Tia Mowry Broke Down In Tears Describing A Racist Incident She Experienced As A Teen

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“Sister, Sister” Actress Tia Mowry Broke Down In Tears Describing A Racist Incident She Experienced As A Teen

CBS Television Distribution

Back in the 90s, Tia and Tamera Mowry were experiencing the height of their fame while on the hit show “Sister, Sister.” The series which followed Tia and Tamera as Tia Landry and Tamera Campbell saw two actors play the part of two identical twins separated at birth and then accidentally reunited in their teens. It won several Emmys and Kids’ Choice Awards and cemented itself as essential Black TV. As a result, the twin sisters scored roles on other series, movies, and all kinds of media attention. And not for a lack of racist incidents that attempted to hold them back

Recently, Tia opened up about her experience as a Black teen actor in the 90s and shared a story that clearly still hurts her heart.

Speaking to Entertainment Tonight, Tia shared that she and her sister were once rejected from appearing in a teen magazine cover because of their skin color.

Speaking about the incident, Tia recalled how she’d been subjected to racism when she was a teen on the show and attempting to be on the cover of a popular magazine at the time.

“It was around Sister, Sister days. The show was extremely popular. We were beating — like in the ratings — Friends around that time,” Tia said. “So, my sister and I wanted to be on the cover of this very popular magazine at the time — it was a teenage magazine. We were told that we couldn’t be on the cover of the magazine because we were Black and we would not sell.”

The actress teared up as she went onto recall that “Here I am as an adult and, wow, it still affects me, how someone could demean your value because of the color of your skin,” she said. “I will never forget that. I wish I would have spoken up. I wish I would have said something then. I wish I would have had the courage to speak out and say that isn’t right.”

Years later Tia says she has used that moment to drive her in raising her two children.

Tia (who is a mother to Cree, 9, and Cairo, 2) says that “to this day, I’m always telling my beautiful brown-skinned girl that she is beautiful.”

“What I’ve done with my children is [reading] books,” she explained to People. “You can read incredible books to your children about Rosa Parks, about Martin Luther King Jr. — pivotal people that had a huge impact within the movement.”

“The other thing is through television, especially during this time,” she went onto explain. “I was just having my children watch a whole bunch of [things] that starred a lot of African American actors, and one of them is [TheWiz. You had Michael Jackson, Diana Ross. It was just such a great story. And my son … he loved it, [and] it’s important.”

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ICYMI: Bad Bunny Has Dropped A New Song And He’s Taking On Racism And The Upcoming Elections

Entertainment

ICYMI: Bad Bunny Has Dropped A New Song And He’s Taking On Racism And The Upcoming Elections

Matt Winklemeyer / Getty Images

In the wake of George Floyd’s murder, many celebrities used their platform to highlight his story and to speak out against the racial injustice so prevalent in the United States. However, one big voice was conspicuously absent: Bad Bunny.

At the height of the Black Lives Matter conversation, Bad Bunny was called out by fans for remaining silent on an issue so many were talking about. It was one of his biggest stumbles. As a vocal critic of Puerto Rican politics, as a vocal proponent of LGBTQ+ communities, many had expected the reggaetonero to add his thoughts to the conversation.

Fans finally received what they wanted in the form of an Instagram post but to many, the damage had already been done. Now, San Benito appears to be trying to redeem himself with a new, surprise track that addresses #BLM and many other issues.

Bad Bunny’s Compositor Del Año has been released and he touches on many topics that he’d previously left untouched.

In his new track, called ‘Compositor del Año’ (with a Soundcloud link that ends in “f—k2020”), Bad Bunny is opening about the ongoing social issues that have been centerstage. He addresses important issues including racism, immigration, the importance of voting, and his support for Biden, among other topics.

‘Compositor del Año’ is apparently a response to the critics who said he hadn’t spoken out enough during the height of the Black Lives Matter movement.

In the 2-minute, 34-second song he raps (in Spanish), “It’s 2020 and racism is worse than COVID/ A black man with a gun, that’s a criminal, but if he’s white, they say that’s a hobby.” He adds how a badge is used as a “license to kill” but “it’s being white that makes you lethal/and being Black is what makes a white person/easy to shoot you.”

He also delves into the 2020 election and his support for Joe Biden.

Although the song appears to be a clear response to the backlash he received for remaining silent on #BLM, the song also addresses the upcoming elections.

He reinforces the importance of voting in “Compositor del Año” saying “There are more important things than sitting down to criticize the achievements of an artist,” adding “There are more important things like fighting for the rights of immigrants.”

He addresses Trump as a “mamabicho” and encourages people to vote to oust “quien nos jodió ante’.” He also raps: “I loved you before but not anymore. I liked you but not anymore. I was there for you but not anymore. … I won’t give you a break. I don’t want your fake love.”

He also goes into the controversy surrounding his win at the 2020 ASCAP Latin Music Awards.

Bad Bunny’s new track also goes into how the hatred toward him is misguided. Some of the lyrics sound like a response to the critics who said he didn’t deserve the songwriter of the year award from the 2020 ASCAP Latin Music Awards in July. Many took to social media to question his victory due to his sometimes explicit lyrics.

Bad Bunny has a clear message for the haters, expressing that there are more important issues going on in the world. “They fight because they gave me composer of the year but not for what matters.” There are more important things than sitting down to criticize the achievements of an artist,” he continues, such as encouraging the youth to vote. “There are more important things like fighting for the rights of immigrants.”

At the end of the track, the “Yo Perreo Sola” singer expresses his dream to change the world and end poverty. “But I can’t; it’s not my fault,” he says. “Before being born, all of this already existed. We only have to teach and learn, live and grow. Understand that we will always see something that will hurt us. To have faith, to believe that it is going to be possible.”

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