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Facing our Past
Author: BobR    Date: 05/05/2021 13:04:41

Everyone knows that slavery was a dark spot on American history (pun intended). In school, most of us were taught about how Africans were rounded up and shipped over here to work on farms, for no pay under brutal conditions. They were bought and sold like farm animals. That's probably the sum-total of what we were taught. To say that our history was "white-washed" is an understatement.

This was the impetus for a bunch of writers at the NY Times to create a special issue named "The 1619 Project" (after the year that the first boat of African slaves supposedly arrived on our shores). There were some quibbles with that date and the way it was couched. Sure we may have already been enslaving some of the natives already here. Sure there may have been slaves brought previously. Is that really that important? Slavery has been around since the beginning of civilization in Mesopotamia, but that wasn't the focus of the essays.

This was meant to be a study of American history, and slavery's oft-ignored part in it. Acknowledging some uncomfortable truths doesn't make us worse - it makes us more honest about how we got to where we are now. As you might expect, though, that is not how the cadre of usual suspects saw it:
A conservative group called the National Association of Scholars had announced a “1620 Project” to highlight the contributions of the pilgrims who arrived in Plymouth Bay that year. And as the racial-justice protests of the summer renewed interest in the Times project — and the Pulitzer Center (no relation to the prizes) announced that 3,500 classrooms across the country were using its curriculum — it landed on the radar of Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.).


In July, Cotton proposed a bill to bar federal funds from schools that used the 1619 curriculum — “a radical work of historical revisionism aiming to indoctrinate our kids to hate America,” he called it. “The entire premise” of the Times project, he told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, “is that America is at root a systematically racist country to the core and irredeemable.”

Methinks Senator Cotton (and really - with that name?) doth protest too much. The idea that accepting our forefathers used slavery to build America is not "historical revisionism aiming to indoctrinate our kids to hate America". As you might expect, other racist politicians (including the Big Stinky Orange Shithead himself), revolted at the idea that non-white history had any relevance to Making America Great ™.

Keep in mind that the "project" was a newspaper special that was published in 2019, and all of this race-baiting reactionary response was last year. It must be an election year in S. Dakota, because Republican governor Kristi Noem apparently thinks preserving White Supremacy in our education system is important enough to legislate:
The biggest cultural challenge of this lifetime is “defeating anti-American indoctrination,” Gov. Kristi Noem said in a Fox News opinion piece co-signed by Dr. Ben Carson and published Monday morning.

The politicians shared they’ve signed on to the "1776 Pledge to Save Our Schools," which commits that K-12 public education will restore “honest, patriotic education that cultivates in our children a profound love for our country.”


In the column, Noem and Carson criticize President Joe Biden for canceling and disbanding President Trump’s 1776 Commission, which released a controversial 1776 Report two days before the end of Trump’s term, on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and attempted to end a “radicalized view of American history.”


In the column, Noem shares concerns about giving up and abandoning altogether “the teaching of our children the true and inspiring story of America,” and that children should be taught about the country’s values, history and heroes.


America’s most defining principle, the pair argue, is that as individuals, “we are all created equal by God.”


The conservative governor also successfully pushed for $900,000 in state funding to create new civics curriculum to meet her goal of educating why the "U.S. is the most special nation in the history of the world," while efforts to mandate instruction on the state's tribal history, culture and government failed in the legislative session this spring.

This governor wants to teach students that "we are all created equal by God" in direct contradiction to the Constitution's first amendment, while eliminating any mention of Native Americans and their treatment by settlers and the U.S. Government in her state.

Slavery was our original sin. Pretending it wasn't is the most current one.

17 comments (Latest Comment: 05/05/2021 19:31:19 by TriSec)
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