DC Public School Lesson: Capitalism Caused Coronavirus

Handouts blamed the pandemic on racism and capitalism, gave Chinese government a pass

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November 17, 2020

A District of Columbia public school teacher encouraged students to blame the coronavirus pandemic on racism and capitalism instead of China, according to a lesson plan obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

Hardy Middle School teacher Caneisha Mills had her students host a "People's Tribunal on the Coronavirus Pandemic," whose "defendants" included racism, capitalism, and the United States government. "I wanted to … point out that the capitalist system was behind the pain, trauma, isolation, and destitution [my students] were facing," Mills said. "Capitalism, racism, and the U.S. government left us to die."

As part of the tribunal, students had to answer a series of leading questions about America's coronavirus response. "How does capitalism in the United States cause crises like the coronavirus and the flu pandemic of 1918," one worksheet asked. "If the government and capitalist system are guilty, what should be the 'sentence'?"

The material also applauded China for its handling of the coronavirus without mentioning its authoritarian political system. China took "exactly the measures that a government should take in times of crisis," a handout for the exercise claimed, and "donated tons of medical supplies … to the United States."

Mills uploaded her lesson plan to the Zinn Education Project, a group named after the well-known socialist academic Howard Zinn. It boasts a following of more than 110,000 teachers and claims to be a "leading resource" in education. Noam Chomsky is among the supporters of the project.

Mills said the exercise drew inspiration from the Black Panthers, an anti-capitalist, black nationalist group founded in 1966. The Black Panthers' stated objectives include the release of all black people from prisons and the creation of a black-only colony.

According to Mills, her students "wanted to put Donald Trump, Mike Pence, and all members of the federal government in jail" for their handling of the coronavirus pandemic. The public school teacher said she felt assured by her students' desire to "fight against a racist capitalist system that harms us all."

Hardy Middle School did not respond to a request for comment.