So, I teach a "not real" class. It's not English and we're allowed to have time and space to have other conversations, explore different things. We're on human rights and so, since they were all born in 2000, I wanted to show them something about Mandela so we could talk about human rights abuses.

The questions they're asking are kind of hilarious in a of-course-middle-school way

1. Why was his hair parted like that?

2. Wait, he didn't want to marry that woman because she was ugly? Do you think she cries a lot about that now?

3. Wow. A boxer? Did they have boxing back then?

4. [About a discussion on passbooks] "Wait, to other countries, are we foreign?"

But then they had some deep shit to say, in true of-course-middle-school way

1. So then, is the difference between freedom fighters and terrorists just what side you're on?

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2. Do you think the US would have pressured South Africa to stop apartheid sooner if the US hadn't had Jim Crow laws?

3. It's interesting to see that these people we think are larger than life are real, like us. That means their sacrifices are greater.

And of course, cuz it's middle school:

"That's messed up!"