A young boy’s letter, or better yet, journal reflection, to his teacher about the day’s lesson has been circulating the web widely. In it, the young boy writes his honest thoughts about the lesson his teacher taught on Christopher Columbus that day.
Christopher Columbus, the Italian navigator and explorer who was once taught to have irrefutably discovered America, has now been widely criticized for his role in colonizing the Americans and ushering pain and suffering on indigenous Americans who lived on the continent for centuries before Europeans arrived.
The young boy, King Johnson, reflecting this understanding, writes, “I can’t listen when I hear lies”. He then quotes the iconic Jay Z line celebrating rapper Christopher Wallace, over Christopher Columbus as a reason for why he believes his teacher is lying: “my mom said that “the only Christopher we acknowledge is Wallace”.”
Johnson finally concludes with a deeply philosophical question about history, teaching, and learning, writing: “My question for today is how can white people teach black history.”
Although little is known about King Johnson beyond this letter, it is clear that he is strong in his convictions about Christopher Columbus. He responds to his teacher’s reaction, “King I am very disappointed in your journal today”, with what reads as a nonchalant “ok”.
Social media is having a field day with the young man’s letter. People are taking strong opposing sides on the issue. While many praise King for knowing history, saying that he is going places, others say he is cruel and probably missed or misinterpreted what the teacher said in an attempt to vilify her.
Read a copy of the original letter below and let us know your thoughts.