Michigan school for gifted children gave students a Duke University biology handout with photos of monkeys, chimps, and Obama

Originally published at: Students given a Duke University biology handout with photos of monkeys, chimps, and Obama | Boing Boing


Alabama school for gifted children?



Birmingham, MICHIGAN, not Alabama


Understandable confusion, but the book came from David Duke University…


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If the theme of the lesson is that humans are primates, fine. If it’s trying to say that some humans are not primates, fuck em.


While I understand where they were going with this, the choice of a Black man, let alone Obama, as the representative of “human” in this exercise was problematic at best. In fact, choosing a white man would have potentially challenged the students’ core beliefs a little bit. Perhaps why it was not done?


Hey! I grew up in Alabama, and if I take my shoes off I can count all the way to twenty!

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I dunno. Pointing out that humans are primates would make 46% of Americans uncomfortable, promoting evolution as it does.

Edit: based on your and @Scientist ’s posts, it does look like insensitivity. My comment on the depressing state of evolution acceptance still stands.

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Later in the same material they use photos of Jane Goodall, Charles Darwin, and Barrack Obama as their human examples. It is hard to imagine a teacher not getting that there are much better ways to teach students that humans are primates than starting with some “is Obama a monkey” bullshit


This is 100% intentional. I don’t buy that anyone in America is that ignorant or “color blind”. Bullshit.


I believe the traditional human to use here would be Charles Darwin, as @Scientist said.

There’s also an argument for using Carl Linnaeus, as he is the type specimen for Homo sapiens sapiens- in other words, the official taxonomic definition of “human” is “an organism of the same species as Carl Linnaeus”. On the other hand, there are no photos of him as he died several decades before photography was invented.

More humorously, this guy is currently the Primate of All England:


Some liberals then drew the conclusion that the election of Obama represented the emergence of a post racial society. They were, of course, dead wrong, but, Obama, at the time, as president would have featured prominently in educational materials and classrooms as a face kids could recognize (and perhaps admire–one day, with hard work, and determination, you too could become leader of the free world, the greatest of all primates.)

Then trump came along and demonstrated that racism was a proven vote getter, and post racialism was shown to be an illusion)

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I was thinking along the same lines. Not about core beliefs, exactly, but the value of the learning exercise to figure out where everyone is at.
Choosing a white woman, for example, would give instructors a better indication if the students actually know that humans are primates.


One of the funniest lines ever in comedy was from this skit on Astronomy Club.

At around 2:32 - “This game is one of the most racist things I’ve ever seen, and I went to Duke!”

The writers/cast recap on this is great too:


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“While it is true that humans are primates, to use a photograph of a black person in this context is insensitive, to say the least”

In other words, it doesn’t matter that you’re a technically-correct racist asshole, at the end you’re still a racist asshole.


I’m not sure any liberal ever drew this conclusion – at least not anyone paying the remotest lick of attention. The sentiment was certainly wielded and, indeed, weaponized by consevatives – though I am sure many of the people so weilding it didn’t really believe it either.


Although it is true that humans are primates, there is a long and extremely dark history of making these kinds of comparisons between black humans and non-human primates and perpetuating that history is the issue here.