This Kid’s Christopher Columbus Homework Assignment Became An Iconic Takedown Of The Way Schools Teach About Him
If you need reassurance that the future is in good hands, look no further than this kid’s response to his teacher’s lesson on Christopher Columbus. A student named King was clearly not a fan of his teacher’s presumably white-washed history of Columbus, and he wanted to make that clear in his assigned journal entry. Friends, the children are awakening whether we are ready or not. So we best get ready.
A photo of King’s journal entry, originally shared on Facebook, quickly went viral and has since been shared over 125,000 times. The Root’s Very Smart Brothas also picked up a photo of the journal entry, sharing it in a tweet that has since been liked over 35,000 times.
While King may have not appreciated his lesson on Columbus, we can all appreciate King’s lesson in how to roast someone who tries to sell you misinformation on Christopher Columbus’ history. “Today was not a good learning day,” his journal entry starts. It only gets better and saltier from there:
“Blah blah blah [I] only wanted to hear you not talking. You said something wrong and [I] can’t listen when [I] hear lies. My mom said that the only Christofer [sic] we [acknowledge] is Wallace. Because Columbus didn’t find our country, the Indians did. I like to have Columbus Day off but I want you to not teach me lies. That is all. My question for the day is how can white people teach black history?”
If you felt something, that was just the earth moving at how loudly I am cackling. Brilliant. Wonderful. 10/10. “I only wanted to hear you not talking” is the rudest piece of poetry in the absolute best way. Go all the way off, King.
Underneath his journal entry, King’s teacher responded in what can only be described as red teacher ink: “King I am very disappointed in your journal today.”
King’s response? “Ok.”
Needless to say, the internet has found their new king. “Please rise for our future president,” one user tweeted. And I, personally, have nothing but respect for my future president.
A few people expressed greater disappointment in King’s teacher for not responding differently. “I wish the teacher had answered the posed question,” one Facebook user commented, “rather than saying how disappointed they felt. This could have been a meaningful and teachable moment.”
Many of us across the United States likely grew up being taught the same, misinformed narrative about Christopher Columbus, probably using a sing-songy rhyme: he was an explorer who discovered America after sailing the ocean blue. However, that is not the full history and certainly not the history that speaks true to many indigenous peoples in the U.S. In truth, much of what we have been taught about Columbus is more myth than fact.
Columbus did not discover America. As Quartz states, indigenous peoples were living in America for thousands of years prior to Columbus’ arrival. While our history books may revere Columbus as a brave explorer, that reverence completely overlooks Columbus’ effect on the populations that already resided in the country he claimed as his own. According to a piece by Kris Lane for The Washington Post, Columbus’ actions helped propel the transatlantic slave trade in the Caribbean, enslaving an estimated 1,500 islanders in just eight years. Kind of makes you wonder why we have a whole day celebrating him.
We owe it to kids like King to teach students Columbus’ full history. We owe it to kids like King to acknowledge the effect Columbus had on the indigenous people of America at the time and how our current reverence of him in turn implies a hierarchy of importance when it comes to history. A brighter future entails a full acknowledgement of our past. And if we’ve got kids like King to lead us there, the future is bright indeed.