“America is freedom, I’ve been told – But I know that it was also born of blood and gold.” – Flocabulary Lesson: “Who Discovered America”
A “rap song” packaged as a social studies lesson recommended for grades 5-12 by Flocabulary titled “Who Discovered America” questions why it is appropriate to name a Jeep Cherokee after a Native American tribe by asking students to “[I]magine the outrage” if a Jeep was named a “Jeep Jew.”
According to Flocabulary’s website:
Flocabulary is an online library of educational hip-hop songs and videos for grades K-12. Over 20,000 schools use Flocabulary to engage and inspire students. Our team of artists and educators is not only committed to raising test scores, but also to fostering a love of learning in every child.
As reported at Broadside News, their lessons take on a decidedly progressive viewpoint.
The refrain to the rap song for the American History lesson shows an image of Christopher Columbus singing “Wow, I just discovered America” with native Americans behind him responding, “You didn’t discover it. We were already here:”
Wow, I just discovered America.
You didn’t discover it. We were already here.
Wow, I just discovered America. (x2)
You ain’t discovered nothing. We was already here. (x2)
One of the “challenge questions” in the lesson is a fill in the blank:
After a hundred years of foreign invaders in their lands, ___ percent of Native Americans were deceased.
The answer can be found in these lyrics:
Most of all, Columbus was an entrepreneur * Spanish would give him 10 percent of all the slaves, gold, land, and spices that he claimed in their name * Indians didn’t know about guns and greed * After a hundred years, 90 percent were deceased.
The catchy rap song discussed Native American tribes in part:
There were five tribes white guys called civilized,
Because of the way their government was organized:
Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Seminole, and Creek.
The song went on to declare:
Then in the year 1492, an Italian was sent by the Spanish to find a new route to India. His name was Christopher Columbus. He was hungry for gold . . .
Accompanied by this image:
The song also mentioned the the Nina, the Pinta, the Santa Maria in passing, rapping “[B]oats hit the New World screaming out ‘arriba!'” No mention of European settlers fleeing religious persecution was found in the video.
But this was:
Another social studies lesson titled “Thirteen Colonies” has rap lyrics stating in part:
Planted their feet to build a land of deceit, plot it, conquer, And spread disease across the seas it’s the Spanish Fleet. Welcome to America, the era of early terror Where Columbus named the country out of error.
The Pilgrims had the sense to bring some women, ‘Cause if you’re fleeing to escape religious persecution, Don’t forget the LADIES! All signed the Mayflower Compact, except the LADIES!
The lyrics of a lesson called the “Bill of Rights” explains the Second Amendment this way:
Right to bear arms and cannons,
I bet the Minutemen didn’t know about handguns
(As Hamilton singing to Jefferson):
We need a big government; small governments stink,
‘Cause small governments can’t do big things.
What you gonna do without cash?
Let’s build a national bank, that’ll be a smash
You talk liberty, Tom; now ha, that’s a joke! You own slaves, what you think we don’t know? Liberty for all men, right, Thomas? Oh, unless you own them; you’re a hypocrite, right, Thomas?
(As Jefferson singing to Hamilton):
Look I’m not a hypocrite, I’m just complex,
John Adams was second, and I got next.
Became the president, tried to limit my own power,
But that task got harder by the hour.
Flocabulary claims to be “used in more than 20,000 schools.” Are they in your school district?
Cross-posted at Broadside News