Monkey/Jungle Theme...Offensive?!

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by JTeach619, Jun 22, 2010.

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  1. JTeach619

    JTeach619 Companion

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    I would really love to do a monkey/jungle theme in my second grade classroom this year. I found the cutest set of decorations, the "Monkey Mischief" by Trend, and I was just about ready to place my order online for it when my boyfriend looks over and tells me that parents in my school would get offended by it. My school has a very high African-American population and it is my first year teaching there, so I would hate to give a bad first impression. I just don't feel that I am being offensive with my classroom theme...it is just too cute! I even had bulletin board ideas and little catch phrases picked out. I have seen lots of teachers do this theme in their classrooms and it looks wonderful. What do you guys think? Should I change my theme? Do you think I will be offending the population in my school? :help:
     
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  3. Unbeknownst

    Unbeknownst Cohort

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    lol, Good Lord!

    If you get offended by a monkey-themed classroom, you'd have to be thinking reeeeally far outside the box.

    I think it would be fine ... it's just monkeys!
     
  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I don't find it offensive but if there is the slightest doubt in your mind, let the theme go and pick something else. As a first year teacher you don't want to give anyone the chance to question your decisions.

    This just happened in Washington State last week:
    http://www.thegrio.com/news/white-students-hang-bananas-over-stairwell-frequented-by-blacks.php

    Surely, quite a different story than cute bulletin borders, but you might want to steer clear. Better safe than sorry.
     
  5. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    I wouldn't do it.
     
  6. Unbeknownst

    Unbeknownst Cohort

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    See, I think that's going way too far.

    Do we not have enough freedom of choice to have a monkey-themed classroom?

    Is being "PC" gone so far as to stop a teacher from hanging up some jungle leaves and cartoon monkeys?

    I'm having a hard time imagining what the argument would be against her doing this: "M'am, I'm highly offended at how cute your monkeys look swining from the tree."

    ??????
     
  7. JTeach619

    JTeach619 Companion

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    I have taught for five years in a school with a very high Hispanic population (I am Hispanic myself) and I have never had a problem with my classroom decorations being offensive to anyone :(
     
  8. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Make it The Rain Forest.
     
  9. Pooh42

    Pooh42 Companion

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    Monkey/Jungle Theme

    I wouldn't find it offensive at all and I am an african american teacher and mother. I have a monkey/jungle theme in my room and have the same bulletin board set you are talking about and I use monkeys in the back to school display with the students names on them-I have had it for 5 years now and have never had one complaint-I taught/teach in schools that are predominately AA.:)

    http://msjones-class.com/ClassroomTour2009-2010WS.htm
     
  10. Lynnnn725

    Lynnnn725 Connoisseur

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    Umm.... if people are offended by monkeys, they will find anything to be offended by.
     
  11. shasha379

    shasha379 Devotee

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    I wouldn't call it the jungle, but I would use the monkeys. As an African-American teacher it does not offend me, but I could see how a jungle theme could offend some. The rain forest would sound better.
     
  12. Lynnnn725

    Lynnnn725 Connoisseur

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    WOW - I mean I am baffled by why your boyfriend would even think of this....
     
  13. JTeach619

    JTeach619 Companion

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    OMG!! I love love love your room! :wub: That is the look I am going for with all the animal prints and such
     
  14. shasha379

    shasha379 Devotee

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    Pooh42 I love, love, love, your room. I have the same color green and almost the same fabric. Where you have bananas in your fabric I have butterflies.
     
  15. teacherlissa

    teacherlissa Comrade

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    I have that exact theme in my classroom and have gotten so many compliments on how cute it is. It never even dawned on me to think of it being a racial issue. And since I call my little darlings a bunch of monkeys...it fits!
     
  16. Momzoid

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    As a white teacher in a predominately black school in Alabama I would NEVER have a bulletin board with monkeys on it. My principal warned us not to use monkeys when we had a school wide jungle theme. I didn't know that it might be offensive, but we have too many people today looking for something to label racist. :dizzy:
     
  17. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    [​IMG]
     
  18. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    Smart to ask; annoying to have to worry about it. But I wouldn't only because I dislike monkeys. I think a safari theme might be nice. Steer clear of controversy your first year. You'll have enough things to do besides deal with snide/offended comments from people.

    Seriously, why monkeys? They aren't clean, they make a lot of noise, and they bite. I know, I know. I'm going to get a lot of flack from all you teachers who use monkey themes.
     
  19. worrywart

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    There are so many cute themes and ideas out there, I would choose another one..it might be okay but not worth the risk.

    People are easily offended nowdays and even though your intention is good sometimes things are misconstrued. Good luck.
     
  20. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    We were strongly discouraged from using monkeys as a theme when i taught elementary, but last year I did teaching high school and it worked out well.
     
  21. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    I think that monkeys are a very poor choice for an animal to be associated with education.

    Not that monkeys themselves are not intelligent. Of all animals, they are intellectually closest to humans.

    The problem is that because monkeys are human-like, but not human, then tend to be associated with unacceptable or foolish behavior.

    Not exactly what I would want to promote in my classroom regardless of the ethnicity of my students.
     
  22. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Overthinking.
    In my humble opinion.
     
  23. sevenplus

    sevenplus Connoisseur

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    I wouldn't use it. I have heard the term "monkeys" used before in a racially offensive way and if even one person's mind goes there... it's not worth it.
     
  24. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    It's not even so much a racial issue. Calling anyone a monkey implies foolishness and baffoonery. They are just not an animal that people take seriously. And since education is a serious business, I don't think it's a theme that really belongs in the classroom.
     
  25. Momzoid

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    I agree! There are too many other really great ideas to use without offending anyone.
     
  26. Teachling

    Teachling Groupie

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    I've had my Rainforest theme for two years & get many compliments from teachers & admin.
     
  27. Teachling

    Teachling Groupie

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    I just love love your classroom! May have borrow some of those ideas......:D
     
  28. Pooh42

    Pooh42 Companion

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    Jungle

    Borrrow all you like:p
     
  29. Teachling

    Teachling Groupie

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    Pooh42, can I PM you?
     
  30. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    Actually apes are. Monkeys are a quite diverse group, ranging from tree-dwelling spider monkeys and capuchins to the ground-living baboons.

    I'd avoid the association. You only need one parent to make the same sort of association your bf did to create incredible levels of hardship for you.
     
  31. demijasmom

    demijasmom Companion

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    The people who are asking why would anyone be offended by this, it is because African-Americans were referred to as ''black monkey's".
     
  32. smurfette

    smurfette Habitué

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    I would only do it if the school and class were not majority AA. I think it's a bit ridiculous that a monkey theme could cause you problems, but if a parent doesn't like you for some reason, it will just serve as an easy way to call you racist.

    I taught in an urban, 90+ percent AA school, and that was often a parent's go-to excuse if they didn't agree with a white teacher. Race relations in the city/neighborhood were pretty bad. I had a parent say that I was being racist because her AA daughter was always at the bottom of my stop-light chart for fighting, threatening, cursing, etc. Never mind that the students who were always on green were AA and the one white kid (and only non-AA kid) in the class was always at the bottom with the lady's daughter.
     
  33. DHE

    DHE Connoisseur

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    Pooh~your room is beautiful and I can see that a lot of work went into it.
     
  34. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Why don't you just ask your principal. One of the teachers at my school does a monkey theme and it is really really cute.
     
  35. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    If there was even a whisper of a doubt in my mind, I would not do it. Why put all that work into a beautiful room, and then have that thought nagging at you? If you are like me, I'd constantly be on edge and listening for comments. Not worth it, in my opinion. They ARE super cute, and I know what it feels like to have your heart set on an idea and not use it, but if you can get excited about something else, you'll forget all about the monkeys!!
     
  36. JTeach619

    JTeach619 Companion

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    Thanks for all the input guys! After reading all of your comments I'm just going to give up on the monkey theme and either pick a new theme or make due with the things I already have.
     
  37. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Just make sure not to provide any Cheez-It Crackers as snacks...:rolleyes:

    I'm sorry, I am...even though I don't agree that we should even recognize the association, I at least get the race issue here...but then not wanting monkeys because they're playful and school is all business? Really?
     
  38. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    I have done a fish theme, balloon theme and train theme.
    Ms. B had a Great Catch
    Up Up and Away
    My headings were All Aboard the (my last name) train.

    This year I was going to try an Owl Theme but I'm not feeling it now. So I may switch to something else.
     
  39. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    The only reason I would say not to do it is that you have a seed of doubt in your mind and will always feel a little unsure of it. I don't think anyone I know would be offended, and I think it would be really cute - but I would hate to show off my classroom for the first time and always be thinking in the back of my mind - "is it ok? are they offended?"
     
  40. Teacher Chele

    Teacher Chele Habitué

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    I have done Safari as my theme and my son's teacher did it this year. I think it's GREAT! I seriously doubt that anyone would find it offensive and if they did, they need to get over it.
     
  41. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    My SIL works in marketing and several years ago her dept. photographed children of several races hanging on "monkey bars" at a playground. After it was totally completed, someone who saw the photos before they were published informed them that they were making a serious error since people would be offended b/c of the photos. she was told that they are now referred to as "horizontal bars" now - no monkeys.
    My grade 6 girls are seriously into monkeys.
     
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