Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Just Edit the Bad Parts Out!

Ran across this: Tenn. Tea Party Demands Slavery Removed From Textbooks:
Regarding education, the material they distributed said, “Neglect and outright ill will have distorted the teaching of the history and character of the United States. We seek to compel the teaching of students in Tennessee the truth regarding the history of our nation and the nature of its government.”

That would include, the documents say, that “the Constitution created a Republic, not a Democracy.”

The material calls for lawmakers to amend state laws governing school curriculums, and for 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.”
I vote that last sentence be included in upcoming dictionaries as a definition for "white privilege." Let's obscure "minority" experiences so the "majority" can come away looking angelic and declare that "the truth."


And this little bit about their rationale:
Fayette County attorney Hal Rounds, the group’s lead spokesman during the news conference, said 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 thing we need to focus on about the founders is that, given the social structure of their time, they were revolutionaries who brought liberty into a world where it hadn’t existed, to everybody — not all equally instantly — and it was their progress that we need to look at,” said Rounds

Wow, wow, wow. Apparently, it is okay to dismiss the parts of history that make your heroes look... well... less heroic, to prioritize the image of some over the experiences of others.

As for "liberty into a world where it hadn’t existed," dude, your founding fathers' fathers were the primary reasons there was a notable shortage of liberty 'round these here parts.

They weren't all that revolutionary. They were a bunch of privileged white guys that laid out a system that supported their privilege as wealthy, white men. They did not and did not want to bring liberty to everybody.

This reminds me of one of my many issues with the idea of "colorblindness," that if we pretend not to see and refuse to talk about things, from skin color to differential treatment to patterns of inequity, that they will magically disappear. No one will have to be uncomfortable. No one will have to acknowledge the perpetuation of inequality and discrimination. And, oh, if you bring those things up, well, you're the racist.

Also, I am faintly amused by the way they use words like "truth" and "made-up."

Life in our post-racial world.

1 comment:

Anita said...

Hal Rounds can really turn a phrase, I'll give him that. There were parts of this country (like plantations and what is now the entire state of Mississippi) where the truth has never been fully told about what was actually the MAJORITY experience--where the oppressed far outnumbered the oppressors.

My favorite is his idea that there is made up criticism about "intruding on the Indians." As if Andrew Jackson didn't really mean it.

Revelations and ruminations from one southern sistorian...