A French teacher at the DeKalb School of the Arts took a student’s suggestion during an August school lockdown and played a YouTube clip from the animated classic, “The Triplets of Belleville.”
What happened next is a cautionary tale for these race-charged times.
“The Triplets of Belleville,” is a French movie nominated for two Oscars in 2003 and celebrated as groundbreaking animation.
While Common Sense Media, which rates movies for family viewing, deems “The Triplets of Belleville” as appropriate for children 12 and older, the clip showed some of the film’s wildest scenes, including parodies of African American French performer Josephine Baker’s banana skirt dance routine from the 1920s, and hoofer Fred Astaire being eaten by his tap shoes.
The three-minute YouTube clip of the musical number from the film would be safe, the teacher thought; a decision he later described in a parent email as a “lapse in diligence.”
The parent claims the clip is racist and sexist and is pushing for action.
The teacher is on paid administrative leave and the class has been led by a substitute French teacher since.
You can see the clip that set off the contentious situation and read both sides of the story at myAJC.com.
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