Not hick enough?

Slave Auction to be Held in Cafeteria
Mountain Brook() - Students at Mountain Brook High School are gearing up once again for their annual celebration of Black History Month. In a community that has received so much and given so little in return, recognition of African American culture gives many students a warm, fuzzy feeling. Since none of the students are actually of African descent, the young men and women prepare for the event by closely examining their gardeners and maids.

The month long celebration has become a proud tradition, with each class of seniors attempting to outdo their predecessors. Senior Tris Bromberg sums up this year's effort, "We knew last year's Amos and Andy marathon would be tough to beat, so we decided to go right to the heart of our African heritage by holding a slave auction." Not a real slave auction she quickly added, but a fund raiser for the tsunami victims which will have popular students acting as personal slaves to the highest bidder. The period of servitude will only be one school-day, and there are limits on what a 'slave' can be forced to do.

Originally, the students had planned to use actual African slaves in the auction for historical accuracy. Many of the students were dismayed when they discovered that actual slavery is no longer legal and might be offensive. Stated one senior, "How were we supposed to know that slavery is offensive? We though is was just part of black history. Really, we're all in favor of civil rights, but this is going too far." Hispanic replacements were suggested, but most of the students complained that demeaning Mexicans "wouldn't be the same." That is when the faculty suggested the idea of turning the auction into a fund raiser, which would make it a good thing for everyone.

Principal Toby Swindle had this to say about the importance of the celebration. "Only by understanding their backward culture can we hope to stifle future attempts at social reforms." Swindle admits the common perception that whites take no interest in African Americans is hurtful and proudly points out that most of the pawn shops, liquor stores and sub-standard housing in Birmingham are owned by Mountain Brook residents. "Our students take pride in knowing their ancestors wrote the Jim Crow laws that helped create a vibrant African American culture of minstrels and day laborers." This year's ceremony will conclude with a student in black face performing a spirited reenactment of Dr. Martin Luther King's 'I have a Dream' speech.