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Prominent Private School In Michigan Which Included Barack Obama In Lesson On Primates, Faces Backlash

Prominent Private School In Michigan Which Included Barack Obama In Lesson On Primates Faces Backlash

A historic Michigan private school is under fire after a teacher gave students a multiple-choice worksheet about apes and monkeys that included a former US president. The school responded to the lecture, claiming that it was not created by the teacher and was taken from a “well-recognized university.”

According to FOX 2, a high school biology instructor at The Roeper School, a private school in the Detroit suburb of Birmingham with annual tuition and fees of $30,000 per student, distributed materials for an “Ape, Monkey, and Lemurs: Introduction to Primates” class earlier this month. Apes, monkeys, lemurs, and one Homo sapien were among the primates depicted on the sheet. Former President Barack Obama was the Homo sapien.

Private School In Michigan Which Included Barack Obama In Lesson On Primates

Students were instructed to answer the questions to the best of their ability after receiving the pre-course survey.

“Who’s who?” was the first query. Which of the following animals is a primate? It contained a peacock, prairie dog, chimp, porcupine, monkey, the 44th president, and a lemur, and asked the class to “check all that apply.”


The homework went viral shortly after class, with social media users expressing displeasure.

“Birmingham, Michigan’s Roeper School is a shame. Racism and intolerance are being taught in the classroom! The Republican Party is concerned about CRT that is not being taught in schools. One person tweeted, “Here is an illustration of why children grow up to be racist adults!”

“I think the Roeper School should be closed down.” Comparing anyone to monkeys, Obama or not, is not indicative of a well-informed, objective educational program. Another person stated, “That looks really low-life to me.”

Many individuals thought it was insulting to compare the country’s first Black chief executive to primates, despite the fact that all humans are primates, especially given the hundreds of years of history of people of African origin being connected with apes and monkeys in a derogatory way.


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European intellectuals in the 1500s and 1600s popularized a theory linking apes to African human sexuality and bestiality. Scientists joined the conversation in the 1800s.

“In their 1854 Types of Mankind, leading scientists of the day Josiah C. Nott and George R. Gliddon chronicled what they considered as objective racial hierarchy with pictures equating Blacks to chimps, gorillas, and orangutans,” according to The Conversation. Stephen Jay Gould, a well-known biologist, said the document was the “leading text on racial differences.”

Making the connection between Blacks and monkeys was a prevalent form of disrespect during slavery, Jim Crow, and civil rights.

The school acknowledged this traumatic past by writing a letter to the parents stating that the teacher did not design the worksheet but rather adapted it for use in the classroom from a “well-regarded university” website.


Although the school did not announce the name of the top university, Deadline Detroit reported that it was Duke University. “A black-and-white version was printed or photocopied from Page 12 of this ‘Introduction to Primates’ course plan intended to improve motivation for learning,” according to the publication. The page has been taken down from Duke’s website.

“On behalf of Roeper School’s leadership, I’d like to address the troubling racial offense contained in this worksheet and deeply regret its use and the pain it has caused,” the letter said.

The teacher has accepted responsibility for not validating the sources, according to the private school, which prides itself on diversity, provides alternative education, and claims to be the country’s oldest K-12 school for bright children.

As a result of the agreement, the school will continue to teach its educators on racial bias in the classroom. Students who have been affected by the assignment are now encouraged to seek counseling.


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