Columbus Day may have come and gone, but American history is being taught to kids all year long, and one Chicago grade-schooler—whose teacher who apparently didn’t quite nail the facts about exactly who “found” America—is fed up with the lies.
In a journal entry his mom proudly posted to her Facebook page, eight-year-old King Johnson not only confronts his teacher about the white-washing of history, but he includes some particularly resonant Jay-Z lyrics while he’s at it.
“Today was not a good learning day,” he starts. He then goes on to name-check another rapper. “My mom said that ‘the only Christofer we acknowledge is Wallace.’ Because Columbus didn’t find our country, the Indians did. I like to have Columbus Day off, but I want you to not teach me lies. That is all.” (Wallace is the given name of the late rapper Notorious B.I.G.)
In response, underneath his entry, his teacher only had this to say: “I am very disappointed in your journal today.” To which the student replied, “OK.”
Are you talking about race, power and justice with your kids? Johnson wrote the entry after talking to his mom about what he’d been told in school, his mother Robin Johnson tells the Huffington Post.
Johnson said she simply used the occasion as a “teachable moment” and gave him additional information about the history behind the day off of school.
And indeed, while some adults may find his impertinence unacceptable—he characterizes that day’s lesson as “blah, blah, blah”—his mom is proud of her son for speaking his mind, although she too was not a fan of the snarky “blah, blah” portion. But the teacher could have at least used this journal entry as a springboard for discussion? Instead, she just shut him down.
When it comes to fake news and alternative facts, this kid made it clear he’s had enough. Johnson says his overall message is about the power of truth: “It’s important to tell the truth because the world should be full of trust and love.”