Monday, October 15, 2012

Rewriting History..Without Slavery

Wouldn’t it be great if we could rewrite history and take out all the bad things that happened? It would be better still if they never happened at all. Now that’s what some educators have been trying to do in the states of Texas, Tennessee and God knows where else. They want to remove slavery from the history books in school, or if not, at least put a good spin on it. I was stunned to read a few articles on the subject this morning. I wasn’t aware that this expunging of slavery was going on, although I have heard it said quite a few times, that there are people who don’t believe the Holocaust ever happened, even with raw footage of the atrocities from WWII Germany posted all over the internet.

Whatever happened to the saying “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it?” (George Santayana). How are we going to remember it, if it’s existence is eradicated from books?

There are some of the things I have read in total disbelief.  In Texas they want to rename slavery as “Atlantic triangular trade” in their children’s history books. Later this was changed to trans-Atlantic slave trade. They want to eliminate slavery, minimize it or “white wash” it. To add to this, from what I have read, the state of Texas buys so many textbooks that it will greatly influence what publishers decide to put in ALL textbooks, which may impact children’s education all over the country.

In Tennessee, the Tea Party, wants to protect the “reputation” of the founding fathers, so they want to edit out that they owned slaves . They also want to “adjust” how Native Americans were treated. In other words they want the founding fathers to appear “perfect and flawless,” or at least look as good as possible. Basically, they want to replace true and well documented historical events with lies and deception, and then teach this altered version in the classroom. Are we going to teach our children lies? 

Why is this happening? Well, there are certain groups who believe that the history we have learned for decades, has a “liberal slant.” The fact that slavery existed, our founding fathers owned them, that Native Americans lost their homeland, and that both groups were very badly abused, and so much more, is just a “liberal slant?” And these are just some of the most shocking and radical of several changes planned to be implemented over the next decade.

Recently, Republican Representative of Arkansas, Jon Hubbard, wrote in a self-published book, that slavery was a “blessing in disguise.” His reasoning? " ... the institution of slavery that the black race has long believed to be an abomination upon its people may actually have been a blessing in disguise. The blacks who could endure those conditions and circumstances would someday be rewarded with citizenship in the greatest nation ever established upon the face of the Earth." (Pages 183-89)  He says many other ignorant things, including: "Wouldn't life for blacks in America today be more enjoyable and successful if they would only learn to appreciate the value of a good education?" (Page 184) Read more here: How wonderful for African Americans! Makes you wonder why they have been angry for over 200 years! (Insert sarcasm).

There are some that say insist that racism is over in this country. There is no need for any Affirmative Action. Really? I am not black, but I know there is still plenty of racism. A few years ago, when a friend was here visiting me, we took a walk to a neighborhood store. We picked up a few items and brought them to the counter. I paid for mine with my credit card. My friend took out her credit card and was asked to present her ID with it. I wasn’t asked for ID. My friend is black. She took notice of this little “slight” and mentioned it to me. I felt embarrassed for even taking her into that store.  The is just a tiny example of how ingrained racism is in many in this country. It may be so ingrained they may not even be consciously aware of it. But it comes out and shows itself in plenty of situations. Why do we need to have laws against “racial profiling” if racism doesn’t exist? 

And now, there are those that are comfortable with eliminating and/or rewriting history to say that slavery, as we know it to have been documented and have been taught, didn’t exist? How does any school system or group of educators reach this conclusion and think it is okay? How do you deny the truth? How does one deny the lynchings, the whippings, the rapes that took place? Someone please explain to me how this is okay? 

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