The Texas State Board of Education: It’s Time for Them to Stop

It’s one thing to allow your political ideology to color your perspective on current events. It’s quite another to let that ideology influence you to change historical facts.

Now let me be clear: all history knowledge and study is subject to change. The more we learn about history, the more we understand about certain eras, the influence of economic, societal and religious pressures upon a period and the actors in those historical periods, that knowledge does, at times, change facts. The importance of some people is elevated. The importance of others is diminished. We can grow in respect for some people and others we respect less. The resent ‘elevation’ of Harriet Tubman, to be the new face on our $20 bill, for instance, came about as our nation’s respect for her and her role in setting slaves free via the ‘Underground Railroad’. Tubman risked her life, to make sure that enslaved people made it to the north and freedom. At the same time, our view of Andrew Jackson, 7th President of the United States, was more than a little diminished as his role in the America’s genocidal battle against Native Americans, cast him in a much darker role in our country’s history.

But you can’t simply rewrite history to fit your own narrative of superiority. That’s wrong and dangerous.

Can someone please tell this to the Texas State Board of Education  – PLEASE?! They’re at it again!

“A proposed Mexican-American studies textbook for Texas high school students is written by authors with no expertise in Mexican-American studies, contains large sections that have little to do with Mexican-American history and includes language that depicts Mexicans as lazy, opponents of the book say.

“A newly formed coalition of educators and Mexican-American advocates has banded together to try to prevent the book, Mexican American Heritage, from ever making its way into Texas classrooms. The Texas State Board of Education is set to review the book this fall.”

Six years ago, in the previous blog I authored, ‘Change the Wind’, I wrote about these crazy right wing ideological shifts and the harm they would potentially do to our educational system, but to our children as well as the children of our nation. Because, most of don’t realize, Texas and California purchase the most text books, and because text books are only purchased every 10 years, a book full of lies, distortions and revisionist history, will be the books purchased by nearly every school district in the country.  Misinformation will color every child’s understanding of history, nearly a generation.

In the case of this latest education fiasco, depiction of ‘industrialists’ as hard-working, risk taking individuals and Mexican Americans as essentially ‘lazy’ is particularly harmful…

“The coalition pointed to a specific passage in the proposed textbook as an obvious example of the book’s flaws. Immediately after noting that Mexicans were stereotyped as being “lazy,” the authors “reinforce that stereotype in a discussion of relations between workers and American industrialists in Mexico in the late 1800s,” the coalition said. The group quoted from page 248 of the textbook:

“Industrialists were very driven, competitive men who were always on the clock and continually concerned about efficiency. They were used to their workers putting in a full day’s work, quietly and obediently, and respecting rules, authority, and property. In contrast, Mexican laborers were not reared to put in a full day’s work so vigorously. There was a cultural attitude of ‘mañana,’ or ‘tomorrow,’ when it came to high-gear production.”

The Texas State Board of Education is reviewing the proposed book and will consider public comments and feedback in September.”

Have these people lost their minds? Or do they think we have lost ours?

Clearly, the fact that the majority of students in Texas, in particular, are of Hispanic descent. If you teach them that their history in this country, is that of lazy, indolent ancestors who have contributed nothing to our history, heritage or economy, and that only white people were the ones ‘putting in a full day’s work, quietly and obediently…respecting the rules, authority, and property…’ their marred self-image, will produce pretty much the same thing. It will put them in the position of perpetual superiority in our country. It’s an institutionalization of hatred and bigotry that must not stand.

When the State Board of Education meets in September, the period for public comment should be taken up with hundreds of Texans who know better, in line in Austin to say, ‘No’!

We are the only ones who can stop Texas from becoming a laughingstock…and a stumbling block to public education…

 

 

 

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