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Teabaggers Want To Remove Slavery From School Texbooks

January 23, 2012

Teabaggers want to censor textbooks.

I have loved reading history since childhood, so I am not sure if I should snicker at this or chalk it up to another mission for the lowest common-denominator crowd.

Multiple Tea Party members, including lead spokesman Hal Rounds, say they want the state legislature to force teachers to teach history in the way they see it. In other words, they want to re-write history to exclude the fact that the Founding Fathers owned slaves, because according to The Memphis Commercial Appeal, the group wants to address “an awful lot of made-up criticism about, for instance, the founders intruding on the Indians or having slaves or being hypocrites in one way or another.”

The group wants to change textbook selection criteria to say that “No portrayal of minority experience in the history which actually occurred shall obscure the experience or contributions of the Founding Fathers, or the majority of citizens, including those who reached positions of leadership.” It’s a fancy way of saying let’s take the role of minorities out of our American history textbooks so our past leaders will look good.

The Tea Party wants to whitewash American history as if the Founding Fathers were perfect in everything they ever did, which simply isn’t true. The Founding Fathers were great men but they had flaws. They owned slaves, they allowed slavery to be legal and yes, they did that despite hypocritically writing that all men are created equal. They also took part in the removal of Native Americans from their homelands, an action that resulted in the deaths of thousands. This information is well documented and acknowledged by professional historians and should not be censored. Students have the right to learn the entire truth about our history and not just the parts that conservatives want them to learn. Hiding knowledge is tantamount to lying and that’s what the Tea Party wants our teachers to do.

4 Comments
  1. January 23, 2012 6:36 PM

    Here is where I can find fault with Tea Party folks. One has to put themselves into the times and reasons that caused the correct history to be written. Not to rewrite history.

    –>”The Founding Fathers were great men but they had flaws. They owned slaves, they allowed slavery to be legal and yes, they did that despite hypocritically writing that all men are created equal. They also took part in the removal of Native Americans from their homelands, an action that resulted in the deaths of thousands.”<–

    So? In the end the Nation ended up as a pretty good place to live. There are many other places on this globe that are far worse. Armpits to be sure. And many have slaves now…and Indians who are 'on the outs' with the 'natives'. So what? Given enough time these injustices go away as well.

    But to gloss over the texts to be politically correct does nobody any good. If Marc Twain used the nigger word in Huck Finn's world, and George Washington had slaves, it's only because that was the way it was. And it was necessary to survive. It's history. And it's wrong to change it.

    skip.

  2. January 23, 2012 5:30 PM

    Patrick,

    We agree. I am now again reading “The Vineyard of Liberty (Volume 1 of The American Experiment) by James MacGregor Burns. Yes Jefferson owned slaves, and yes he wrote lofty words in relation to the new nation. His writings/phrases regarding slavery were often terse and in opposition in his earlier years. Later the desire to see the nation succeed out of infancy took over as his most pressing priority and the issue of slavery for him slid down. I think in his depths he knew it was as he stated, “a stain” but at a real political level was unable to do anything about it at the time. We always want to place words and deeds into the mouths and hands of those from the past, but in the end are left to view them as they were.

    I too feel that third parties and professionals should determine the texts. I also feel that teachers should bring in execerpts from historians such as Goodwin, McCullough and others to bring passion about these men and events into the classroom. I have never understood why the textbooks presented for history are written without passion and intensity. After all, none of what it being presented is dull, so why do texts have to be so unimaginative?

    Anyway, thanks for commenting on a topic I love to chat about.

  3. Patrick permalink
    January 23, 2012 4:59 PM

    Nothing is ever black and white. I would note that most students short of the AP level lack the ability to see the shades of grey. For example, to say that Jeferson wrote that all men were created equal, yet he owned slaves vastly oversimplifies complexity. Most students shun complexity. And since it is impossible to teach “our entire truth about our history (which sounds like code to me),” there is no answer to this question which allows for easy choices. This being said, I do think we need to be very careful about legislating history. Curriculum is best left to third party organizations–such as the professional guild of history teachers, or whatever they call themselves.

    Also, to read the quoted passage in paragraph three is to wallow in vague language, but it seems that you couldn’t teach MLK’s infidelity either.

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