Why Author's Bias Needs to be Taught in ELA


The woman in the video was screaming, emotional, passionate.  I couldn't take my eyes off of her as she frustratedly explained why #BlackLivesMatter.  Talking about systemic racism in our country, she exploded into tears as she mentioned the Greenwood riots.

The Greenwood riots?

The what?

I like history, especially American history.  I have a special passion for the Civil Rights movement because it was part of my childhood.  But Greenwood?  Never heard of it.  Didn't even know where it was.  

So I went digging.  I learned about another of the many frightening times in our country's history for people of color.

Greenwood was about African-Americans achieving the dream.  It was part of the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma, filled with doctors and lawyers, hotels, movie theaters, newspapers, restaurants, good schools.  Tulsa was segregated and lynching wasn't uncommon.  Because of that, Black people shopped in this part of town and so the Greenwood district thrived.

Until it didn't anymore.  

Until resentment grew too large and a white mob came and burnt 35 city blocks down, killing people in the process.

Folks, this is a story that needs to be told.  So I've told it and rightly assumed it's biased.  I have feelings about this, as I'm sure many of you do, too.  Why not have students explore that?  
  • Why not have students read about a massacre that didn't make it into the history books?  
  • But more importantly, why not have students read something that is biased?
  • So they can learn that bias doesn't make writing invalid.  
  • It doesn't make facts untrue.  
  • It just makes them work hard to see what the bias is and perhaps, why it's there.
And the best part?  It's FREE.  I can't see making money off of someone else's pain.  And it's digital.

If this is something you'd like to have your 5th - 8th graders reading, by all means, download it!

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