Black Student Assigned to Play Slave in Mock Auction

School apologizes after mom complains

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 6, 2011 11:48 AM CST

(Newser) – An elementary school Social Studies lesson in Ohio turned controversial last week when a black student was chosen to play a slave in a mock slave auction. Nikko Burton, 10, is one of two black students in the class; the other was assigned to play a master, the AP reports. Burton tells WBNS-10 that he wasn’t upset at first, but got mad when the students playing masters started bidding on the students playing slaves. “The masters got to touch people and do all sorts of stuff” to see if they were worth buying, he says.

“They got to look in your mouth and feel your legs and stuff and see if you're strong and stuff,” he continues. His mother complained, saying her son was humiliated, “felt degraded, … and the kids picked on him later.” The principal did apologize, but the teacher reportedly has not—even though “it was kind of mean and she should have said sorry,” Burton says. A district spokesperson says the auction is part of the state’s required curriculum, but Burton’s mother calls it “totally inappropriate; it was racist and it was degrading.”

An elementary school principal apologized after a teacher assigned a black student to play a slave in a mock slave auction.
An elementary school principal apologized after a teacher assigned a black student to play a slave in a mock slave auction.   (Shutter Stock)
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