Tuesday, May 03, 2016
There are some things you must not say, even in satire
A satirical essay by a North County High School student that calls for the destruction of black people is stirring student and community outrage.
In the Advanced Placement Language class at the Glen Burnie school, a teacher assigned students to write a satirical essay modeled after a 1729 essay mocking heartless attitudes toward the less fortunate. "A Modest Proposal" by Jonathan Swift asserted, satirically, that poor people should sell their babies to the rich as food.
One student's satirical essay for the assignment described blacks as "single-parent households, welfare recipients, unemployed citizens..." The essay calls for a nuclear missile to "wipe the cesspool of filth some call a 'race' from the earth."
The essay quickly circulated on social media, with some commenters accusing the student of racism and others defending the satirical intent of the assignment. Anne Arundel County Public Schools spokesman Bob Mosier said he did not know who first posted the essay.
North County Principal Julie Cares sent a letter to parents Tuesday explaining the assignment and said the student's essay was "ill-advised and insensitive."
On April 7, the student whose name is on the essay posted on his Twitter account "TO WHOEVER READ THE PAPER: I do not mean anything in it. I wrote it as a parody for an English assignment, and I apologize for it."
Mosier said the school system sent administrators and counselors Wednesday to help students work through their concerns and anger.
That there was a considerable element of truth in the essay was probably behind much of the heartburn