Fifth-grade students at MOC-Floyd Valley were shown a video called “Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man” during library of all subjects. The Iowa Standard reached out to the librarian, a person called Murray Andersen, as well as the MOC-Floyd Valley superintendent, Russ Adams.
Neither individual responded to The Iowa Standard’s request for comment, but we are told the video series was not shown in the following library class.
In the episode that was shown, fifth-grade students heard:
“White people have reached out to me asking how can I help? How can I join in? How can I stand with you? In order to stand with us and people that look like me, you have to be educated on issues that pertain to me. And fully educated, so that you can feel the full level of pain. So that you can have the full level of understanding.
“I fervently believe that if the white person is your problem, only the white person can be your solution.”
That is just in the first 30 seconds or so. The host then defends — DEFENDS — rioting.
“MLK said that ‘rioting is the language of the unheard,'” he said. “For years black people have tried peacefully protesting going back to 1965 and before with the Selma March. And that didn’t work.”
Then he defended Colin Kaepernick.
“So now, we’ve seen riots because black people and hurt people are trying to get the attention of the oppressor,” he said. “They’re trying to raise awareness of the oppression.”
The host says he doesn’t condone rioting, after essentially justifying it. But he notes sometimes “emotions” don’t know their “actions.”
Students then heard about white privilege.
“Black people were held back for hundreds of years,” he said.
He then goes on to discuss hundreds and hundreds of years of “systematic” and “systemic” racism.
“White privilege is having a headstart intrinsically built into your life,” he said. “It’s not saying your life hasn’t been hard, but what it’s saying is your skin color hasn’t contributed to the difficulty in your life.”
Towards the end, students were told:
“We understand all lives matter, but right now, black people are dying at the hands of white people. And I can’t change that. Only you, my white friends, you all can change that.”
Iowa lawmakers banned this sort of stuff from schools in 2021 with House File 802, a bill that banned teaching divisive concepts as fact.
On Feb. 18, The Iowa Standard asked Adams and Andersen about the video. We asked them to provide comments and whether they had any concern with the video violating the divisive concepts law.