Student's Critique of Homework Question on Imperialism Draws Reaction

A student at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School took issue with an assignment asking about the positive and negative effects of imperialism, and her sister's tweet about it has elicited a large response on social media

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A student in Cambridge, Massachusetts, took issue with a homework assignment asking about the pros and cons of imperialism, and her sister's social media post has drawn a lot of reactions.

Inside Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, there's a debate about the history of imperialism and critical thinking that's now the topic of discussion online and on the street.

It's all the result of a viral tweet from Calla Walsh showing her sister's school assignment.

It asks students to describe the positive and negative effects of imperialism. Her sister's response was that thinking about positive aspects of imperialism is disrespectful to those people and their ancestors who were murdered because of colonization.

The school said the tweet took the assignment out of context, saying it was an exercise designed to spark conversation and raise critical thinking.

"It is important that our students learn about varying perspectives so that they can form their own opinions," the school said in a statement.

Reaction has been mixed, as people consider the wrongs and rights of history.

"People sold into slavery and different other harsh conditions. So I think the student was speaking to that point, and I agree with her," said one student.

"I'm here and have all the luxuries of being a Cambridge resident thanks to British imperialism. Otherwise, I'd be in a village in India," one man said while standing near the high school on Broadway.

"We're all trying to learn here. We're all trying to get an education. So as long as that's the main goal of these questions, I think they're fine," said another student.

"Done properly, it helps development. It helps progress. We wouldn't be where we are now had it not been for the fact that we were brought into the New World," said Basil Ong, who is Filipino and referred to Spain's colonization of the Philippines.

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