I worked for a woman who thought this film (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJFZlzudbZk) was just good fun (she played the Concubine in the black dress), and who condoned showing it to children as young as 11 years old as part of their ethics and values assemblies, and who sent a section wide mail diminishing and belittling the concerns of teachers who felt it was not in keeping with the school's nor the IBO's values and let us all know that they should lighten up and have a better sense of humor.
In response (after getting permission from my head of section to do so) I sent a mail to my department imploring them not to show the film (anymore) and stating precisely why.
When she demanded I forward it to her, I softened the content of this e-mail, knowing full well that she already had access to the original and that it would lead to confrontation that would likely end in my leaving the school. I shouldn't have done that.
I did so because she menacingly threatened to fire someone in my department for expressing her political points of view in the press and I wanted to deflect her anger towards me.
I encouraged people I worked with to speak out against the ignorance and bullying we saw being practiced by people in some of the management positions of the school and their circle of friends.
I encouraged my teachers and co-workers to fight ignorance, racism and misogyny with education and information.
I was accused of trying to "start a revolution" and my contract was not renewed.
I was relieved because I did not want to work for someone who thinks it is okay to make fun of people for their race, or their passion for education and tolerance.
I know what my faults are, and I accept them, but none of my faults were condoning a film that glorified racism and misogyny as appropriate educational material or light-hearted comedic fun for all ages, nor do they include belittling and mocking the point of view of passionate teachers who care deeply about the messages we send to children, especially children who have a responsibility to create peace and justice in a nation at war with itself.
I know what my faults are and I own them, and the consequences of them, every day.
I wish I had done things differently. I wish I had been more forthright. I wish I had not been sucked down the rabbit hole of politics and game playing. I've never been very good at games. I am very sorry for that.
But despite all my faults, I have never, and will never support bigotry or tell professional educators who find the courage to speak out about their concerns that their feelings are wrong, that they spoke too harshly, or that they are "over reacting" when they sense something is out of whack.
THAT, I would never do.