Opinion

Two sides of a racist, sexist coin that just keeps flipping

Just how appropriate is it for the teachers’ union in San Francisco to distribute to its 6,000 members a lesson plan for talking about the election of Donald Trump.

This plan among many other things called Donald Trump a racist, sexist man who became president “by pandering to a huge racist and sexist base.”

Harmeet Dhillon, a Republican National Committee member from California, called it “inappropriate propaganda that unfairly demonizes not only the campaign that Donald Trump, the winner, ran, but also all of the people who voted for him.”

It was crafted at 2 a.m. in the night following the election by social studies teacher Fakhra Shah, who intended it only for her students and others at her school.

Teachers at her school — whose students were Latino, African American, white, Muslim and LGBTQ — she said, “were lost for words, wondering, ‘What do we say? What do we do?' ” according to The Associated Press.

The school district has neither endorsed nor criticized it.

The plan included some very harsh words about our president-elect.

They were words no harsher, however, than many in his own political party used in distancing themselves from him — at least until he won.

Still, name-calling doesn’t provide the sort of teaching moment we would hope our public schools would provide.

We’d prefer a lesson plan that had teachers saying, “Here’s what various people have been saying about our president-elect. Why do you think they said those things? What did they base those statements on? How reliable is their judgment?”

Of course, it’s difficult to craft a plan like that at 2 a.m.

“We’re calling him out,” Shah said. “If he’s our president, I have the right to hold him accountable and ask him to take a stance that is anti-hate and anti-racist.”

Certainly she does.

But if she has that right, perhaps teachers in other public schools have the right to tell their students that finally the nation has, in its wisdom, elected a man not bound by silly notions of political correctness in dealing with issues of racial violence and illegal immigration. Can they teach that this is a man who recognizes and accepts — as women should — what life is really like for them in America?

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