The foul Texas crusade to sweeten slavery

Texas schools board rewrites US history with lessons promoting God and guns
Chris McGreal, Houston | Sunday 16 May 2010

The board is to vote on a sweeping purge of alleged liberal bias in Texas school textbooks in favour of what [Cynthia] Dunbar says really matters: a belief in America as a nation chosen by God as a beacon to the world, and free enterprise as the cornerstone of liberty and democracy.

“We are fighting for our children’s education and our nation’s future,” Dunbar said. “In Texas we have certain statutory obligations to promote patriotism and to promote the free enterprise system. There seems to have been a move away from a patriotic ideology. There seems to be a denial that this was a nation founded under God. We had to go back and make some corrections.”

And that, the laughable idea of “corrections,” gives you a snap shot of just how blindly politicized and caustic the school board-ers are. Over and over again, they planned to and succeeded in voting to “correct” History.

What was so wrong? Certain words kept appearing in their textbooks. Huh? That’s right — bad words kept popping up. So they had to be wiped out.

The words were inappropriate? No. The words were inaccurate? No. The words were poorly chosen, misused? No. The words stung. Nothing more than that. They were unpalatable to some people, those with smothering buttoned-down psychologies who exult in exporting hospital-corners Americanism. The people who now run the Texas Board of Education.

Well, who wouldn’t want America to be perfect? Who’d rather hear that the United States screws up, incarcerates the blameless, brutalizes the peaceable, slaughters the defenseless? Not these solid Republicans. Not these folks who can’t bear honesty, not anyone immature to the point of believing the past can be re-texted into vanity.

Not the Texas Christian textbook tyrants.

Scholars on the curriculum teams had argued that “capitalism” and “free market” are commonly used terms in economics courses and everyday discourse…

Terri Leo (R- Spring): “I do think words mean things. . . . I see no reason, frankly, to compromise with liberal professors from academia.”

The commie academics stunk up “capitalism” badly. So the Texans decided they’re no longer going to lay their students down at the feet of the eggheads, no longer going to allow the c-word to be seen in their books. The leftists don’t get to beat kids up with their elitist agenda.

After the discussion, the board voted to strike all instances of “capitalism” from the state’s curriculum.

“Capitalism” certainly isn’t inaccurate, but it’s rank to their sensibilities, so it’s out. “Democratic” too:

One amendment required students to learn about the “unintended consequences” of the Great Society, affirmative action, and Title IX programs, and another replaced references to “democratic societies” to references to “republican societies.”

The Board struck the word “democratic” from the description of the U.S. government, instead terming it a “constitutional republic.”

We certainly operate by democratic principles. But why mention that if it ingratiates the d-word into students’ minds? Just substitute it with “republican.” Obliterate the rival party: a correction.

And then there’s slavery. There’s no hiding behind the pretense of balance by trying to call it anything else . .

The education board has dropped references to the slave trade in favour of calling it the more innocuous “Atlantic triangular trade” . .

. . but they’re atomically pretentious. The mere attempt to re-brand slavery properly abominates the school board. It indicts the Texans as a suspect bunch harboring an unhealthy obsession with evil and, likely,Texan a latent disappointment with the abolition of it.

Buying, selling, working to death, killing human beings — these are at least tolerable to the Texas Conservatives. Otherwise, there would be no need to protect or rehabilitate any of it, right? There’s no way to view centuries of human trade as scandalized unless it were possible to scandalize it somehow. It’s the liberals, we’re left to assume, that are to blame for putting a stink on it, not the events themselves. And this word that’s a remnant of the conspiracy, it’s not fair or patriotic any more to let it go.

They simply have to put it right. This considerable slice of American history deserves to be free from the recriminations of History intellectuals and the self-righteous — the politics forced upon school books as “slavery.” The British are “Redcoats,” Sacco and Vanzetti are still “Anarchists” and the Holocaust remains “The Holocaust.” But you better leave the Atlantic Triangular Trade alone.


17 thoughts The foul Texas crusade to sweeten slavery

  1. avatar Martha Henry says:

    The “triangular trade” was a widely taught and well-known topic in elementary education. The slave trade was part of it, but it’s not accurate to say that using the term triangular trade is papering over the slave trade. (Maybe in Texas, but not generally.)

    The Caribbean produced molasses, which was sold to Europe and the northern US to be distilled into rum. Sales of rum paid for the purchase of African slaves. Who produced more molasses . . . Triangular trade is a legitimate concept.

  2. avatar lawguy says:

    I’m 64 and I learned about slave trade as the triangular trade: Molasses to rum to slaves. Certainly any teacher with his or her salt can use that to teach kids how Africans were thought of as no more than property.

    although there are enough other things there to make one sick to ones stomach, and I suspose that finding a teacher worth their sald might be more difficult than I think.

  3. avatar anton says:

    i’m 63 and i NEVER heard of the slave trade referred to as “triangular”….hard to believe that ANYONE involved in an educational program would want to deflect the reality of what it was really about…..but then, these people are NOT educators, more correctly, they are right wing christians manipulating education for their political gain….disgusting…..and don’t anyone doubt that this is ALL about politics and ideology, NOT education….unless you want to call it INDOCTRINATION……

  4. avatar Mr. Beautiful says:

    Considering that a majority of Texans can’t read or read English, I say the Texas controversy is overblown.

    Prove me wrong Texas! Prove me wrong.

  5. avatar Becky says:

    All of this is so outrageous! I live in Kentucky, I am 80 years old, I am a reader and know history. History HAPPENED! History cannot be erased, and it is insulting to our country’s heritage to just arbitrarily try to change events or say they never actually happened. It is morally wrong to cover up the things that happened in our country and ensure that generations of children will never know the truth of events in the growth of our country. We must look in the mirror and admit the wrongs that took place in order to appreciate the great country we now have. I can only pray that the people of Texas do not export their false views and stupid aristocracy across these United States. This is not a perfect country, and it is not unpatriotic to say so. Citizens of this country are good, bad and indifferent just like people all around the world. We should never stop trying to make it better but it is asinine to believe we have already arrived.

  6. avatar darrelplant says:

    Certainly there’s the song “Molasses to Rum to Slaves” from the musical “1776”, which has been around a long time at this point, but it’s all a bit too politically correct to claim that slaves were just a component in the “triangle trade”. The triangle wouldn’t have existed without the slavery component. There would have been no need to go to Africa, for one, and without the slaves there would have been no sugar cane to make the molasses. The triangle existed because of the slave trade and pretending otherwise is, indeed, “papering over” that fact.

  7. avatar Fred Fnord says:

    Buying, selling, working to death, killing human beings — these are at least tolerable to the Texas Conservatives. Otherwise, there would be no need to protect or rehabilitate any of it, right?

    I think you’re missing the point here. I don’t think that the slave trade is necessarily acceptable to these people — although evidence suggests that it is certainly acceptable to some people in the US, since we still keep finding people held as slaves. In fact, I think they think it was awful. Hence the desire to write it out of US history: let’s make it as invisible as possible, because we don’t want to admit that the US has ever done anything bad or wrong (except, of course, to elect ‘libruls’ and ‘demokkkrats’). If we pretend that the US never did anything bad, then it will magically be true.

    That’s the wing-nut whack-job mindset in a thimble.


  8. avatar karen says:

    What can you expect from the state that didn’t let slaves know they were free, until 2 years after Emancipation Proclamation?

  9. avatar John Frum says:

    The question that has to be asked is this.

    Which leads to overcoming our mistakes, and which leads to repeating our mistakes: Acknowledging and facing up to our mistakes, or refusing to acknowledge and refusing to face up to our mistakes?

    I think we all know what the result of this situation is going to be. “Those who refuse to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.”

    So then the question becomes: who are the real patriots, and who are the real traitors here?

  10. avatar HDon says:

    The whitewashing of slave trade with ‘newspeak’ implies slaves were only sold to those in the Carribean. You are out of your cotton picking minds.

  11. avatar ral says:

    The more immediate issue is whether the textbook publishers will now turn a blind eye to this outrageous revisiobist history and just print up a bunch of cr*p and sell it as history – not just to Texas, but to schools all over the country. And then, will those schools all over the country just blindly pass this stuff off as fact? All on the idiotic blatherings of a few insane ideologues?

    Two things must happen IMMEDIATELY:

    1. Get to your local school boards and start raising hell now about what text books are bought for your local schools.

    2. Start a grass roots campaign that will let the textbook publishers know that these books with ALTERED and FALSIFIED history will NOT be welcomed in schools throughout the country and these publishers could end up with millions of unsold texts.

    The whole reason this is an issue is because Texas makes these decisions, and then the text publishers print texts for the entire nation’s schools based upon these bad politically motivated decisions made by a few small-minded, under-educated twits.

    The publishers are motivated by profit. Up til now they have just printed what Texas said to print and sold it nation-wide. They need to understand that the entire nation will not buy Crazy From Texas, and that if they print this up it will not be bought nation-wide.

  12. avatar RD says:

    This is incredibly insulting. I am 71 years old, which does not make me the oldest poster but I am definitely older than the 64 year old and the 63 year old.

    The mere idea that an 80 year old can post on this site is preposterous.

    Re-writing history….can we think of any other groups that thought this was a good idea? hmmmmm

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