Wednesday, July 8, 2015

How Texas is Whitewashing History

The white supremacists might be on the defensive in South Carolina, where there are calls to haul down the Confederate flag from the state capitol, but in Texas the whitewashing of history is standing strong. If you have a child in Texas public schools, he or she is probably being taught shameful lies about American history.

Five million public school students in Texas will begin using new social studies textbooks this fall based on state academic standards that barely address racial segregation. The state’s guidelines for teaching American history also do not mention the Ku Klux Klan or Jim Crow laws.

And when it comes to the Civil War, children are supposed to learn that the conflict was caused by "sectionalism, states’ rights and slavery" -- written deliberately in that order to telegraph slavery's secondary role in driving the conflict, according to some members of the state board of education.

Slavery was a "side issue to the Civil War," said Pat Hardy, a Republican board member, when the board adopted the standards in 2010. "There would be those who would say the reason for the Civil War was over slavery. No. It was over states' rights."
Source: Emma Brown.
How did Texas get to this shameful state of affairs? Those standards were written by far-right, entrenched conservatives on the State Board of Education. And there's a Richardson connection to it. For that, go back in the archives of The Wheel: "SBOE: Tincy Miller and Bill Ames."

In case you are one of those who believe as Pat Hardy does that the Civil War wasn't about slavery, read what Texans of the day had to say was their reason for secession. Read "A declaration of causes which impel the State of Texas to secede from the Federal Union."
We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable.

That in this free government all white men are and of right ought to be entitled to equal civil and political rights; that the servitude of the African race, as existing in these States, is mutually beneficial to both bond and free, and is abundantly authorized and justified by the experience of mankind, and the revealed will of the Almighty Creator, as recognized by all Christian nations; while the destruction of the existing relations between the two races, as advocated by our sectional enemies, would bring inevitable calamities upon both and desolation upon the fifteen slave-holding States.

By the secession of six of the slave-holding States, and the certainty that others will speedily do likewise, Texas has no alternative but to remain in an isolated connection with the North, or unite her destinies with the South.
There's a lot more of that all throughout the declaration. A lot more. Try to square that with Pat Hardy's claim that slavery was only a "side issue" in the Civil War. Yet it's Pat Hardy's revision of history that is being taught to your son or daughter in Texas public schools. And if you are a Richardson voter who elected Tincy Miller to the State Board of Education, you are complicit in this whitewash of history.

1 comment:

glbeach said...

Well said, Mark. I value your insights and objectivity. Thank you for taking time to address this (still) divisive and sensitive issue in such an open and honest manner. Would that elected and appointed officials did likewise.