Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Dear Teachers: Don't Include Cleopatra On Your "Black History" List

Time and time again, I have gotten teachers sending kids in for book for Black History Month (isn't it ironic to segregate black history away from "white" history?"

If I am lucky, they have a list.

If I am really lucky, they have a list of people we will actually have books on.

If I am not so lucky they have included people like an obscure washerwoman who invented a new kind of iron or some such (all that's known is her name and her invention), pop singers on whom there are no bios, and Cleopatra.

Okay, let me get slightly off topic for a minute. I just read an article about Viola Davis's view of her role in "The Help" and found her comment interesting.

“The black artist cannot live in a revisionist place..The black artist can only tell the truth about humanity, and humanity is messy. People are messy. Caucasian actors know that.”

But then I caught this comment:
"They cast Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra and are looking to cast Angelina Jolie in the same role. Excuse me? Knowing history and understanding where Cleopatra came from I do not understand the passing over of black actresses for the role."

This lady does NOT know history. And teachers, this is YOUR fault.

Not all of you. I know plenty of history teachers who know better!

Those of you who have been misinforming students like this for decades, say it with me:


Cleopatra was the last ruler of the Ptolemaic Dynasty, who ruled Egypt for nearly 3 centuries. And they came from Macedonian Greece. Nowhere near Egypt, let alone the rest of Africa.

Not black. Nope, nope, nope.

The writer in the Times was right though in Elizabeth Taylor and possible Angelina Jolie being miscast though in one way.

Cleopatra was NOT beautiful. In fact, judging by her coins, she was downright homely.

Lesson over, children.

Teacher who taught this lady?
Stand in the corner a while longer...........

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