Since the death of George Floyd instigated large scale anti-racism protests around the US, anti-police sentiments have risen in tandem. Although police brutality is definitely a serious issue, generalizing all police as simple tools of systemic racism would also be an unfair generalization.
A High School in Westchester, New York, sparked controversy and general outrage as cartoons that compared police officers with slave owners and the KKK was during a 11th grade US History and Government classroom.
As you one can see from the actual handout that was given to students on last week, the first cartoon shows five images in historical order. It starts from the slave traders who put shackles on a Black male to a police officer that resembles Derek Chauvin.
More critically, the African American male in the last frames are uttering “I can’t breathe” – the harrowing last words that Floyd whispered in his last breaths. All in all, the cartoon seems to suggest that racism was never really eradicated but merely manifested in different shapes.
According to various media reports, the instructor who decided to use this material for his class has been identified as Westlake High School’s Christopher Moreno. Moreno has not yet responded to various requests for interviews regarding this issue.
Unlike Moreno, many parents have expressed their anger and disappointment with the material. One mother said when her daughter showed her the print, she was enraged. Considering the cartoons to be biased and misleading, she said she filed a complaint to the superintendent.
The student who shared the material said she felt uncomfortable in class because she thought the direction and discussion of the material was inherently biased. She added that she has been getting cyber-bullied by being labelled a racist for making public this material.
Parents of Westlake who are part of the law enforcement force seemed especially affected by the cartoon. A retired police officer said that the materials seems like a smearing of their images while another said schools should not teach kids to hate the US.
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