Teaching Slavery Through Scare Tactics
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This AP story just ran in the Washington Post:

Program Gives Kids Intense View of Slavery By SAMIRA JAFARI The Associated Press May 16, 2005

A YMCA program called Camp Cosby hopes to enlighten today’s youth to the plight of yesterday’s slaves via a new re-enactment summer camp.

Situated just east of Birmingham, Alabama the camp commences with a good old-fashioned slave auction—except the “slaves” are 11 year-old children.

Throughout the program, the kids are expected to gain a better appreciation for the atrocities of slavery while following the path of the Underground Railroad.

The kids are bought, sold, berated and to a certain extent abused by camp directors so they can feel the experience rather than just read about it.

So I have a couple of questions…

1. Why stop with slavery?

Such a novel approach to history shoudn’t be limited—imagine applying this “feel education” concept to other periods.

How about the Witch Trials? We could tie our children to trees and set them on fire so they may gain an appreciation for the dangers of religious fanaticism.

What better way to teach our kids about Custer’s Last Stand than to scalp a few of them? Ooh, the Crusades should prove exciting…

2. What kind of parent would send their child to this YMCA torture camp?

Even the NAACP opposes the Cosby Camp program because it trivializes slavery.

So what’s wrong with books or the occasional film?

Oh that’s right—that would require teachers who actually teach!

The government schools don’t employ those people anymore.

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