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Revise Information concerning African-Americans on Brain Pop

This petition had 84 supporters

Our nation demands the best from its service members; as such, it's only right to demand the nation provide the best for them and their children, especially in areas of education. At home and abroad, many DoD schools and other public schools utilize BrainPop- an online learning tool that, while highly competent in teaching a number of other subjects, falls short of that goal while teaching social studies. BrainPop's Social Studies curriculum is rife with many issues in how it approaches the racial history of our country. There are examples of: white washing; minimizing the accomplishments of black men and women in history; and downplaying the severity of chattel slavery, while simultaneously portraying black people in subservient roles to white people, even when this wasn't the case. 

Examples of each type of fallacy include:

-Cleopatra, who is portrayed as white despite likely being Persian or Greek- if not black herself- being fanned by black slaves. By turning a historically darker skinned woman into a white woman and representing her being fanned by black men, children are shown that "white" is superior while "black" is subservient.

-The George Washington Carver  unit has a video of a white man picking cotton. While white men and women could be indentured servants, showing a white man picking cotton in the video furthers the fallacious idea that white slavery was analogous to the chattel slavery experienced by black men and women.

- In the unit on jazz music, BrainPop mentioned that black musicians borrowed instruments from Europeans. This is irrelevant to the advent of jazz music. Black Americans played predominantly European style instruments because America was largely colonized by Europeans and those instruments were popular in that period; to insinuate otherwise attempts to minimize the accomplishments of black people by unnecessarily attaching white accomplishments to them.

-Last, BrainPop describes George Washington as a great man who owned slaves but "no one is perfect." This description dismisses the gravity of chattel slavery and brushes it off as if it were a quick, harmless mistake, rather than the ugly blemish on our nation's history.

Although each example seems small to most, such things add up to help children form larger concepts for how they see and approach life and history. Every small fallacy will help shape our nation's children into believing harmful and untrue notions about men and women of color. There are certainly more troubling examples to be found within BrainPop's Social Studies curriculum.

This is why we're requesting any information concerning African-Americans and Africa are reviewed on BrainPop, to include the Social Studies quizzes. Suggestions of revisions should given by qualified personnel, preferably from universities that have African-American studies such as: Yale; Syracuse; Howard; Georgia State; Fayetteville State; or Jackson State University. Once BrainPop has suggestions from the African-American Studies Department of a University, swift action revising the website to positively and accurately depict African-Americans should take place.

Nelson Mandela once said, "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Our communities can be impacted starting with what we allow in the classroom. It's important that we intervene on this educational curriculum now so institutionalized racism will diminish in the future.Please have BrainPop reviewed and revised.

 A concerned Stakeholder,

Adeoba Johnson

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