It’s happening all over the United States. In Florida, they’re actually forcing schools to teach, “slavery benefitted people because it taught them skills”. All reference to color has been scrubbed from Florida textbooks when they discuss Rosa Park’s famous stand on a bus in 1955 when she refused to give up her seat to a white person, as was required by law. Teachers are prohibited from teaching any subject that, “Could upset a student or make them feel guilty about their race.”
Books are being banned in 37 states. The most coming from Florida, Texas, Missouri, Utah and South Carolina, if even one person finds them objectionable. Arizona is trying to pass a similar bill.
In Alabama, Governor Huckabee has loosened child labor laws allowing teenagers to work in jobs previously protected by child labor laws. And she recently signed a bill joining other states like Florida and Texas that bars teachers from talking about gender, sexual orientation or race, “because it’s indoctrination.”
They can no longer teach their own history about the 1957 Little Rock Nine, when Alabama refused to honor the Supreme Court’s decision to integrate schools. It took the bravery of nine young black children, protected by armed National Guardsmen, to force them to uphold the law.
Six high schools have decided to teach the truth about racism in Alabama regardless of the fact their AP courses on African American studies won’t count as credit towards graduation.
It shouldn’t be act of bravery to take an African American study course. It shouldn’t be an act of bravery to teach the truth.
You can try to ignore history. But then we tend to repeat it
You can try to whitewash the truth. But eventually the truth will come out.
That’s what education is all about. Opening ourselves up to what we do not know.
Which is infinite.
Understanding that education is a foundational part of learning. Practicing humility and realizing what we don’t know fuels us to learn more. If we ignored all subjects that make us uncomfortable, learning would cease to exist. Everything we learn should make us uncomfortable. Because learning is about growing, changing and expanding our horizons. Learning means asking questions and seeking the truth.
Questioning where we came from.
Questioning what we believe.
Questioning what we stand for.
This makes us look deep inside and see points of views we’d never see otherwise. Education is how we move forward. For good or bad.
“Give me your youth and I’ll transform the whole world.”
Hitler knew how right that was when he forced six-year-olds to join the Nazi Youth Indoctrination programs in 1936.
Information helped to bring down the Iron Curtain. A symbolic label for those living in communistic countries that prevented residents from knowing anything but the propaganda they were told. In 1950, radio free Europe transmitted news from around the world as well as the truth of what was happening in their own backyards. Over 35 million listeners heard what the free world really represented, encouraging them to question the lies they were fed.
It’s been 60 years since the 1963 March on Washington advocated for African American civil liberties and economic rights.
In 1933, Carter G. Woodson wrote The Miseducation of a Negro, stating the black men in his day were being culturally indoctrinated rather than educated in American schools.
“When you control a man’s thinking you do not have to worry about his actions. You don’t have to tell him not to stand here or go yonder. He will find his ‘proper place’ and will stay in it. You don’t have to send him to the back door. He will go without being told. In fact, if there’s no back door, he will cut one for his special benefit. His education makes it necessary.”
That’s what whitewashing history does.
We owe it to our past, to those who sacrificed so much to get us what we have today, to teach the truth.
Because sadly we are still dealing with the same issues 60 years later – voting rights, equality, police brutality.
Until we truly honor and embrace that all men and women are created equal, we will continue to have too far to go.
It’s easy to push an agenda, indoctrinate entire generations and incite violence when it’s threatened if only one version is heard.
But education, the teaching of all facts and history allows us to celebrate our achievements and embrace our successes while also reckoning with our demons and past atrocities so we don’t repeat them. Together they keep us moving forward. Unvarnished. Untainted. So we can choose with eyes open the path we really want to follow.
Hate has no place in America.
Silence is complicity.
We’ve seen what each road holds.
We are at a crossroads again.