Three Los Angeles teachers have been suspended for giving elementary students pictures of O.J. Simpson, RuPaul and Dennis Rodman to carry in a Black History Month parade.
(A district spokeswoman) says the school held the parade Friday, with children from other classes carrying photos of black heroes such as Nelson Mandela, Harriet Tubman and President Barack Obama.
The teachers are white. More than 90 percent of Wadsworth Elementary students are Hispanic.
It’s not “Black Hagiography Month, writes Joel Engel in LA Times Magazine. The parade signs have “sparked outrage from no less than Mayor Villaraigosa and district superintendent Ramon Cortines, who dispatched “a human relations and ethnic diversity team.”
Anyone who was sentient during the O.J. Simpson trial remembers how the former football great and not so great actor was embraced as a symbol of oppression by the black community — his acquittal celebrated by dancing in the streets. In fact, Mount Vernon Middle School was renamed the Johnnie L. Cochran Junior Middle School in honor of Simpson’s lead lawyer, who shot to fame by convincing the jury that Simpson was a victim.
If we’re being politically correct, why is a gay superstar as unworthy as an unconvicted murderer. Is Rodman’s sexuality — he called himself “mentally bisexual” — unacceptable? What if a student had carried a picture of Bayard Rustin, the gay civil rights leader?