“The Texas Senate voted along party lines to limit how public school teachers handle discussions of race and racism in the classroom. House Bill 3979 was spawned by Republican distrust of ‘critical race theory,’ which explores how racism shaped America… [As a result] teachers who discuss current events or controversial issues of public policy would be required to ‘explore that topic from diverse and contending perspectives without giving deference to any one perspective,’ according to the bill.” — Austin American-Statesman, 5/24/21
Our primary goal as educators is to ensure our students understand that Leatherface’s contributions to the fabric of this great nation are worthy of celebration without feeling any discomfort, guilt, or anguish on account of their status as descendants of Leatherface. While Leatherface is indeed a product of his time and circumstances, we must insist on rejecting the dangerously divisive notion that he is inherently violent.
Students will be able to:
- Identify the abundant and unique strengths of Leatherface, like his cool apron or when he donated all of those meat pies to the Llano County Nursing and Rehabilitation Center
- Examine Leatherface as a human being separate from his cannibalism
- Debate the diverse and contending perspectives of wearing someone else’s skin as a mask
How do we investigate both sides of the issue when it comes to wearing someone else’s skin as a mask?
In what way would you describe a person who spent years working hard at a slaughterhouse, consistently makes it a priority to put a home-cooked meal on the table for their family, and even finds the time and energy to serve as the primary caretaker for an elderly grandparent?
Teacher Notes: Have each student share their answer aloud with the class. The acceptable answers here are, “I would describe them as a good person,” OR “I would describe them as a good American person.”
If any students offer a more nuanced perspective based on their pre-existing knowledge of Leatherface from their “woke” parents, please scowl, roll your eyes, and deliver a response that includes the words, “our history,” “legacy,” and “heritage.”
Transition to the central activity of today’s lesson by displaying a photograph of Leatherface on the Promethean board. Ask students to write down what they see.
Acceptable answers include:
- A man
- An integral part of the Llano County community
- A man with someone else’s face on his face
Academic Debate: Is it ever ok to wear someone else’s skin as a mask?
Have students count off in twos. The ones will be in favor of wearing someone else’s skin as a mask, and the twos will be against wearing someone else’s skin as a mask.
Provide the following list of competing rationale to guide students in their preparation for the structured academic debate:
- You’ve recently lost your job at a slaughterhouse due to technological advances and this is how you blow off steam
- Your family doesn’t seem to mind
- You are incredibly thoughtful in using every part of the body
- You think that the other person will be better off without their face
- You think everyone should be allowed to keep their own face
Teacher Notes: Have two students at a time come up to the front of the classroom. These should go quickly.
Have students write a five-paragraph essay detailing the merits of Leatherface’s generous contributions to Llano County, the great state of Texas, and the United States of America.
Please note that, per House Bill 3979, at no time may you encourage any student to lobby for legislation, engage in political activism, or advocate for social change, especially not as it pertains to calling for the end to wearing other people’s faces as masks.