Permanent Black Man
Use of an online game that simulates slavery has shocked and upset some Phoenix Elementary School District parents who say the tool trivializes a complex and potentially traumatic issue.
Mission US: Flight to Freedom has students adopt the persona of 14-year-old Lucy King, an enslaved girl trying to escape a Kentucky plantation. Following a choose-your-own-adventure format, students navigate the plantation master's demands and plot a river escape, sometimes receiving beatings.
Neal Lester, an Arizona State University professor and expert in African-American literature, said simulations can be effective teaching tools for certain topics — but not this one.
"I just think it's a horrible idea to move slavery into the realm of gaming," he said. "Why does it have to be fun? Slavery wasn't fun."