On Monday (Oct. 10), Amari Jackson posted a screenshot of a homework assignment given to him by a San Diego State University professor. It shows that students were instructed to act out a “slave persona” for a grade.
“Should never have to act like and ‘create a slave persona’ for one of my Africana Studies classes. But hey, at least my professor canceled the in-class presentations where she wanted us to act and dress in our personas. (She canceled them because we had too many students and not enough time),” Jackson wrote on Instagram with two photos detailing the homework assignment.
Students were instructed to come up with a slave narrative that “reflected experiences [they] encountered” during slavery. The assignment called for the pupils to describe “what kind of a person or family [owned them]” and to discuss their escape plans in journal entries. The project was to be “three pages typed [and] single-spaced with Times New Roman font.”
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Once Jackson posted the photos online, they quickly became a hot topic. The post now has over 6,000 likes and nearly 700 comments. “@sandiegostateuniversity can somebody explain [that] this is embarrassing? Our history is not some comical play that we should pretend to be. These were years of people’s lives, years of misery and [mistreatment]. Years of getting degraded and disrespected that some people still go through to this day [and] modern-day slavery still exists. Are you kidding me?” one user wrote.
Another commented, “Yeah, this assignment was so triggering and feels so disrespectful.” Others couldn’t believe what was listed in the email’s bullet points. “What kind of a person or family owns you? Excuse me?” a shocked person said. “Describe your escape???????? This is sick,” another posted.
The instructor was identified as Professor LaShae Collins, M.A., a Black woman. Other topics in her course include social systems, economic empowerment, self-development, family dynamics, use of power, cognitive styles, interethnic communication and international relations, according to local news station CBS8. Collins has been with the university for 24 years and some feel her intentions were misunderstood. At this time, no course of action has been announced.