(Photo: Danny Moloshok / Reuters)
An unidentified South Florida English teacher has been suspended after assigning rap lyrics as homework. Family experts condemn the teacher's decision as an endorsement of obscenities and cultural misogyny.
"Rappers don't use English, so that would be crazy to have rap music as part of an English class," quipped Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association, in an interview with The Christian Post on Tuesday. He criticized the use of profanities in a school assignment. "It's irresponsible, it's inappropriate, and I don't think it fits the course that he's teaching at all – I would object if I were a parent," Wildmon declared.
The English teacher at the Charter School of Boynton Beach assigned lyrics from the Lil Wayne song "Six Foot Seven Foot," asking students to underline figurative language. Janice Crouse, executive director and senior fellow at Concerned Women for America's Beverly LaHaye Institute, told CP about the negative effects such teaching decisions can have on students. When teachers assign this sort of material, "it gives it an official stamp that only the teacher has agreed to," she commented.
"As a consequence, we've got watered down quality and ramped up sexuality and crudity," Crouse quipped. With teachers using comic books and contemporary literature as curriculum material, students have no concept of great literature."
Teachers constantly search for "relevant" material to keep students interested, and subsequently have lost good judgment, Crouse explained. While community standards once kept teachers accountable, loose supervision and lack of consensus on what is appropriate have allowed episodes like this to mislead students. While teachers discover "something titillating to grasp this generation's interest," they merely end up reaffirming the most negative parts of the culture.
Wayne Owens, principal of the Charter School of Boynton Beach, explained the teacher's reasoning to local NBC affiliate WPTV. "Students were having trouble grasping the concepts of literary devices such as: pun, simile, metaphor," he said.
The song's second stanza includes both profanity and arguable misogyny: "So misunderstood but what's a world without enigma?/Two b****es at the same time, synchronized swimmers/Got the girl twisted 'cause she open when you twist her/Never met the b**** but I f*** her like I missed her."
Crouse called it "ironic" that "with the supposed success of feminism, we have more misogynist popular music and cultural influence than ever before." Even while more women earn advanced degrees than ever before, popular culture objectifies them more and more.
The problem traces back to a major shift for the worse in the feminist movement, Crouse argued. "They forgot about quality – they forgot about helping women achieve dignity and success, and instead got bogged down in special interest agendas like abortion, lesbianism and quotas," she said.
Crouse, who is critical of the "third wave" feminism evident in "The Vagina Monologues" and other plays about women's so-called empowerment, noted the crass ways in which women are talked about in mainstream culture. "All the vagina talk – the feminists pride themselves on their crudity, their crude language referring to women's body parts," she argued. In this way, they "teach the public to treat sexual topics in a very crass way."
Wildmon of AFA also homed in on the profanity-laced Lil Wayne lyrics, and questioned the teacher's reasoning behind the selection. "To take lyrics that include obscenities – from what I've heard it's hard to find rap music that doesn't have obscenities in it – that should not be appropriate for a Junior High School," the AFA president declared. "Why didn't he pick Gospel or Country music, and why that song from that particular artist?"