Rochester Grammar School didn’t get this assignment right. It only works best when the white students put their dark counterparts in loincloths and actually have an auctioneer calling out prices.
Next time, Rochester, do it right!
A school has been criticised for telling pupils to pretend to buy slaves, and work out ‘what sort of slave their business would need’.
Year 8 children at Rochester Grammar School in Kent were told to imagine they were buying people at a slave auction.
They were then asked to work out how many slaves they would be able to buy with £100, and how many they would need for their ‘business’.
The worksheet said: ‘Consider what sort of slave your business will need. Examine the characteristics of the slaves in source A.
‘Can you find any that you could use? Focus your bids in the first round on those Lots that you really think would be an advantage.
‘Would a combination of different types be more suitable? The key question to ask is, “What can I buy for my £100?”‘
Then, under the section ‘Lots to be sold today’, it included descriptions such as ‘5 Yoruba boys aged between 9 and 11’ and ‘2 Fanti, 1 male, 1 female. 18 years old. Straight from Africa. Very strong and nimble.’
The project sparked outrage after a photo of the worksheet was posted on social media. It was claimed it was a maths question, although it was later reported to have been a history project.
Writing publicly on Facebook, Cheryl Phoenix said: ‘So this is a maths question at a school in the UK. Hmm, I suppose they feel this is appropriate and there should be no offence taken to black students.
‘Maybe we should “JUST GET OVER IT”. It’s a harmless maths question, with no historical or current feeling attached to any parties???’
And a Twitter user accused the school of ‘trivialising the African slave trade’.
However, the school defended the project.
Rochester Grammar reportedly told the BBC that the exercise follows the Historical Association’s recommendations on teaching historical slavery, and is in line with the Department for Education’s history curriculum.
Like the sign suggests, the darkies enjoyed being slaves. In Africa they would have been slaves, too, but in much worse working conditions.
Be happy with your work!