Sandy Saline

The Reconstructing the South role play took 3 class periods and involved deep and controversial discussion. The roster is primarily Black students in a charter school targeting students with educational gaps with many survivors of trauma. There were 2 unexpected directions this discussion went.

When considering what should happen to confederate leaders one student proposed former slave owners should have to become slaves for a period of time. Another student took the position that if slavery is “wrong” it is wrong for everyone and no matter how shamefully they had treated the slaves, that they should be treated with more respect so as not to become “like they had been.” There was quite a heated debate about what was “justice” and “eye for an eye” vs “do unto others.”

The other unexpected twist was how many students admitted to being “mixed” so it isn’t fair to only have reparations or consequences for folks who are “full.” This took us down the path about assumptions we make about others based on skin tone, how and why that happens today, and the conclusion that that isn’t how they want to be treated or treat others.

It was some of the best discussion and least resistance to writing (after the discussion of each question they had to write what they thought should happen and why) I have ever had. Thank you for making this available.