Maybe the little Ashante girl would "understand" the hurt feelings if a white kid delivered a poem blaming blacks for today's (and yesterday's) problems, expounding only on the black past conquerers and cultural rapists, creating the impression that whites lived peaceful and just lives prior to contact with blacks, and commanding only the white kids to stand and pledge allegiance to each other.
Aren't these kids supposed to be learning grammar, math, literature, and history? And no, this was no history lesson. Teaching about what Columbus did is fine with me. But personalizing Columbus's outrages with the children in an American classroom in 2006 is ugly and unneccessarily unsettling, as is singling out one "race" as the cause of past and current problems, and other "races" as being more just and peaceful, ruined only by the bad actions of the single "bad" race.
This is really terrible, and I certainly don't want my children exposed to this nonsense. Let history teachers teach the full truth not only of Columbus, but also of the African, Arab, American, and Asian societies at that time. It was a savage and brutal world. The mythical African "villiages" that the Ashante girl describes... lack descriptions! Let's fill in the whole picture, and not personalize the horrors of European and African cultures with today's children in the US, where the awful cultural practices of the past are now banished to historical accounts (except for people still living in barbaric circumstances).
The Black Panther pledge made sense during its day, when blacks lacked full rights, and official governemnt entities used their powers to suppress blacks trying to realize those rights. The pledge now creates a conflict that otherwise does not exist.