There was already plenty of controversy surrounding the lack of black women in the George Lucas Tuskegee Airmen film “Red Tails,” but now a school district in Dallas is catching heat, and possibly, a case for sending about 5,700 fifth grade boys on a field trip to see the movie, and excluding girls.
According to a teacher, the trip was a part of black history month, and the film was chosen because it was something that boys would be interested in, as the movie is about historically significant African American men. Of the choice to exclude girls, Independent School District spokesman Jon Dahlander, said:
“There is only so much available space at the movie theater, so the decision was made for boys to attend the movie. Girls stayed at school but principals were given the option to show them ‘Akeelah and the Bee.’”
Title IX funds were used to cover the cost of the nearly $60,000 field trip, which included $32,000 for the cost of movie tickets and an additional $25,000 for bus rentals, not to mention paying substitute teachers to instruct the girls who were still in the classroom. Title I money is used for educating low-income students, but because Title IX prohibits schools that get federal money from gender-based discrimination, outside groups are questioning whether the provision has been violated.
The American Association of University Women told the Dallas Morning News that the field trip was a case of “separate but unequal,’’ and a statement by the Dallas district’s board of trustees saying that they thought boys would enjoy the combat movie more than the girls doesn’t do much to to nullify that stance.
I actually think sending black boys to see the film as a way to instill pride as African American men would’ve been a great idea, but the fact that the district didn’t even think that deeply and made the trip more of a “boys play with guns, girls play with barbies” situation, makes it hard to justify the exclusion of female students. What year is it, 1950?
What do you think about this “Red Tails” field trip? Should the school district be held accountable for excluding girls from seeing the film?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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