Jul 16, 2014
Did your high school have a senior slave auction?
I was talking about this concept on my Twitterz the other day, and people freaked out: a lot of high schools in America still hold an annual “Senior Slave Auction” in which seniors are auctioned off as slaves for a day (or a night, or whatever.) Seriously, Google it! This happens, in the USA!
The basic concept is this: other students in the school put up cash money to hang out with a senior, and the senior has to do whatever the students want (within reason). The proceeds generally go to a “charitable” cause (one private Christian high school did a senior slave auction this year to raise money for the senior class trip to Paris.)
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Besides the obvious racial overtones, there’s perhaps an even greater suggestion of potential sexual…stuff. In reality, it generally seems to amount to “making” boys dress like girls and do silly dance routines (you’ll find a lot of this if you delve into it online) and “making” people wash cars and carry out other menial duties. It’s all fully consensual and done in a spirit of fun — but I think there’s a reason a lot of schools just call it “Senior Auction Day” or “Senior Appreciation Day” now.
I was hesitant to post tweets and Facebook photos related to this phenomenon because it was sometimes difficult or impossible to tell if the students involved were at least 18. I know that stuff is public once it hits the public Facebooks and Twitterz and the such, but I’m super-uncomfortable with embarrassing underage kids or holding them up for public scolding/mockery (and I don’t even know if I’m scolding or mocking!)
Now here’s my question, and I genuinely want to spark respectful discussion in the comments: does the idea of American kids participating in a Senior Slave Auction make you feel weird or uncomfortable in any way? Or is discomfort at this idea just an example of politically correct bullcrap infringing on kids’ rights to have fun? It’s worth noting that while the majority of kids pictured in Senior Slave Auction-related paraphernalia online seem to be white, there are kids of various ethnic and racial backgrounds involved in these stunts. And these fundraisers seem to happen in schools from California to Florida and a whole lot of places in between (a lot of non-Southerners who I talked to seemed to think it must be a practice restricted to the South, but no.)
I’m really not trying to be some kind of uptight liberal scoldypants here! I’m just wondering what you think. It definitely gives me a strange feeling in the pit of my stomach, but maybe I’m being too old-fashioned…or new-fashioned. You tell me: are high school Senior Slave Auctions offensive or just silly fun?