Wednesday, May 19, 2010

rewrite u.s. "history" so that white people look better than ever

This is a guest post by Chauncey DeVega, who blogs at We Are Respectable Negroes, where this post also appears.

What Would U.S. History Look Like 
If It Were Written By Texas and Arizona?

History is one part truth. History is also one part fable. It is a site of political contestation and struggle. As the state of Arizona (with its rules banning “Ethnic Studies”) and the state of Texas (reimaging its U.S. history curriculum to conform with the Tea Party and Christian Nationalist perspective) have both embraced a more “conservative” view of history, it only seems fair and reasonable to take their efforts at face value. Theirs is not an assault on academic freedom. No, it is an effort to diversify and make more inclusive and “American” the curriculum taught to our children.

Many, on both sides of the political divide, have treated these new guidelines with much derision and complaint. I suggest that the best way to understand the teaching of history as imagined by this brave new world is to work through the reality it offers. To that end, I present U.S. history as outlined in the politically correct guidelines offered by Arizona and Texas. Sometimes the old is indeed the new . . . welcome my friends to Tea Party U.S.A.

The Essential Dates and Events of U.S. History 
as Approved by the States of Arizona and Texas

1607– Jamestown founded. Capitalism, which can trace its roots to the Bible, is now firmly rooted in the New World.

1660-1800Triangular Atlantic trade continues to bring wealth and prosperity to America while giving opportunities to new immigrants.

1776–War for Independence against the tyrannical, evil British empire. Colonists suffer oppression that is unprecedented in human history. Minutemen singlehandedly defeat the evil British Empire in 1783.

1788–The United States Constitution is signed as a document to stand for all time, inspired by God, and never to be changed.

–America continues to expand westward into empty territories. American settlers make the land bloom with the help of friendly Indian tribes.

1823–America guarantees the freedom of all countries and people in the Western Hemisphere with the adoption of the Monroe Doctrine.

1848–Mexico, in an act of friendship following their humiliation at the Alamo by the great Republic of Texas, gives their territories to the United States.

1860s-1900s–The Gilded Age of prosperity. American capitalism provides opportunities for all people to grow wealthy, secure, and happy. Liberals and Progressives begin working against American freedom and capitalism by forming unions, demanding unfair compensation from their employers, limiting the rights of children to work in factories, and imposing restrictive regulations for the “safety” of employees. Many brave men die fighting Communist-influenced unions as they riot in America’s cities.

1861-1865–Civil War fought because of an overreaching, tyrannical federal government and its desire to limit the freedoms of all Americans. 620,000 people die including many brave and noble black Americans who fought on the side of the Confederacy. Northerners and Southerners eventually find common ground through Redemption and move forward as brothers and sisters in the USA.

1865-1870s–Democratic terrorists called the Ku Klux Klan begin a reign of terror in the South until brave Republicans defeat them.

–Using the Antiquities Act, Theodore Roosevelt establishes the National Park System. In one bold stroke Roosevelt establishes Socialist policies that steal land from the American people.

1913–More Socialism and class warfare ushered into the U.S. with the federal income tax system.

1917–America enters and wins World War 1 singlehandedly because the French are cowards.

1929–Great Depression begins. Tens of millions unemployed because of FDR’s failed economic policies. His New Deal introduces the nanny state, prolongs America’s economic collapse, and weakens the economy until Ronald Reagan renews America.

1941–Patriotic Japanese Americans volunteer to place themselves in gated communities so that America will be safe from Imperial Japan.

1941-1945–America enters and wins World War 2 singlehandedly because the French are cowards. Out of necessity, the United States drops atomic bombs on Japan.

1945-1965–A high point in U.S. history, as freedom and prosperity reign over all Americans.

1950–Senator Joseph McCarthy fearlessly highlights how America is infiltrated by communists from Russia and China. Big Hollywood and the liberal establishment are brought to their knees by his brave efforts.

1954–Brown v. Board of Education removes the parental right to send children to the schools of their choice and with the company they desire. A dangerous and unconstitutional era of activist Supreme Court decisions begins.

1955-1968–George Wallace and Martin Luther King Jr. lead a Civil Rights Movement to ensure that all Americans are judged by “the content of their character and not the color of their skin.”

1964-Barry Goldwater ignites a revolution in Conservative thought and values that resonates to the 21st century.

1968–The cinematic classic The Green Berets starring John Wayne, America’s greatest actor, debuts.

1971–America largely withdraws from Vietnam on the cusp of victory because it was weakened by The Gays, The Women’s Movement, and “The Counter-culture.” The French are cowards whose failure forced the U.S. to intervene in Indochina.

1973–Roe vs. Wade, the worst legal decision in the history of the Supreme Court, is decided.

1974-Phyllis Schlafly, pioneer for the rights of women, takes a stand against evil Leftist feminists who want to ban motherhood, force mothers to work at jobs outside the home, join the military, become lesbians, and receive advanced educations which they do not need.

1974–Nixon forced to resign by liberal conspiracy.

1980–Ronald Reagan, America’s greatest president, restores American providence by ushering in a new era of economic prosperity, cutting the federal budget, and correcting the unfair federal tax code in order that the hard work of the richest Americans is justly rewarded.

1989–The Berlin Wall falls. Ronald Reagan wins the Cold War singlehandedly.

1992-2000–Democrat president Bill Clinton in office. His reckless personal behavior and irresponsible foreign policy choices weaken America internationally. The U.S. economy is almost destroyed by his tax policies. His wife Hillary Clinton furthers the march towards Socialism by advocating for free public health care and to destroy the insurance companies that drive us economic growth.

2000–George Bush elected in a landslide.

2001–Terrorists attack America on September 11th. Because of Bill Clinton’s policies, a weakened border, a lax immigration policy, rampant multiculturalism, and the Democrats’ weakening of the military, America is left open to attack.

2003–Dr. King’s vision is finally made real. In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court strikes down the reverse discrimination policies of the University of Michigan. Freedom rings across the land.

2003–The country of Iraq, a rogue state, part of the Axis of Evil, and led by the dictator Saddam Hussein -- a co-conspirator in the 9-11 attacks -- is liberated by President George Bush.

2008-Arizona war hero John McCain introduces Sarah Palin to the world.

2008–Barack Obama is elected. America is in a Constitutional crisis as Obama is unable to prove that he is a U.S. citizen.

2008-the present. Brave Americans begin joining Tea Parties and 9-12 freedom groupsMillions of their members march on Washington DC.. Freedom fighter, James David Manning, places Obama on trial in absentia for treason and sedition.

2008Sarah Palin, mother, governor, author, actress, comedienne and role-model, begins here meteoric rise to political stardom. She ushers in an era of robust, common sense approaches to political problems tempered by real American values.

2010–Barack Obama remains President although his rule is illegitimate. Brave patriots such as Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh continue to lead the people’s resistance against his tyrannical rule.

2010-Patriotic legislatures in Texas and Arizona lead the battle against racial quotas and ethnocentrism as they draft legislation to defend all of America from an unending and unfettered stream of foreign invaders.


  1. That...was the funniest thing I've read in weeks. While it IS funny, it is also quite frightening, because I could envision (racist) white revisionists editing historical texts, to serve their own twisted purposes.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. I'd laugh if I wasn't so terrified. All it takes is one match to light a powder keg.

  4. Oh please. There's not nearly enough in there about how God is on rich white people's side*. :P Excellently done!

    (Note: the changes are not about making history Christian per se--one of the first people Texas stripped out of history was Archbishop Oscar Romero. And don't get me started on the Church not considering him for sainthood while they do go for Fra Serra. But I digress. Point is, in Texas this is as much about defining Christianity in a particular way as anything else.)

    * For the opposing view, pick up a Bible.


    @ Mephisto,

    It's less in editing what primary texts they look at, though there's certainly some of that, than in only looking at specific primary texts. For example, the early invasion of North America looks very different if you are considering Virginia versus New England. In NE, there's lots of God/city on a hill/righteous-sounding rhetoric in documents. In Virginia, it really was much more explicitly about the money. (That's a ridiculously broad oversimplification, but the fact is that even good history textbooks treat the, um, ideals of Massachussetts and Rhode Island as if they stood for everywhere in the future U.S. On the other hand, there is solid evidence to suggest that English settlers behaved the exact same way in both the Chesapeake and NE, despite lofty words in the north).

  5. Oh boy. I think this is too scarily accurate for me to even laugh at.

  6. This makes me want to laugh and cry all at the same time.

  7. Man got this one. I was laughing at what was on and off the list.

    Peace, Love and Chocolate

  8. LOL!

    Yeah, that's the mindset some folks have.

  9. "1660-1800–Triangular Atlantic trade continues to bring wealth and prosperity to America while giving opportunities to new immigrants." lolwut. Let's just trivialize the systematic exploitation of millions and showcase it as smart economics. I grew up in South Carolina, and even in that stereotyped-as-full-of-ignorant-hicks state, we learned that this Atlantic trade system was a bad thing.

  10. I'm glad you guys can laugh, but this just gave me chills.

  11. @ thesciencegirl

    You're not the only one. Sorry to everyone, but I just didn't find this funny. Even though I know it's satire and meant to poke fun at the stupidity and ignorance of the Tea Party and the extreme right wing, I just couldn't laugh. Maybe because I have a feeling this is the path and agenda they are trying to create in terms of educational curriculum.

  12. Lately, it's harder & harder for me not to hate white people. All white people.

    I watch the local news where minorities are maligned in ways that are so racist it makes my head spin. I read news online, watch the rise of the Tea Party, see the likes of Glenn Beck get conferred an honorary doctorate, see Rand Paul garner a nomination ( only because his dad is famous) and watch him spout off about "taking the country back" and I wonder, from whom? And then I realize...From me.

    A 7 year old black girl can't sleep on the couch with her grandmother without being shot in the neck by the police who should have been protecting her neighborhood, not waging war on her innocent black family. I know that Latino people are being harassed, arrested, beaten and killed in Arizona. A mosque is bombed in Florida and the media is silent.

    And meanwhile white people get the luxury of debating whether profiling is "effective". Whether black and brown lives are worth their efforts. Whether to even report what they do to us at all and even then, they get to lie.

    Lie about how the girl got shot. Lie about why Latino's are being harassed. Lie about black people committing crimes more than white people. Lie or just plain ignore someone's place of worship being bombed.

    Push reporters away from filming the damage in the gulf with the sanction of the US Government and Coast Guard. Who cares how many miners died in that cave anyway? The lives of poor whites are cheap too? If you don't even value your own...dear God, what will you do me & mine?

    The deception, lies, ignorance and violence of white people COLLECTIVELY is overwhelming to me. And that this is something the majority of white people refuse to see and that the more reasonable among whites are AFRAID to lift their heads and acknowledge is depressing and angering.

    That anyone could debate this textbook pack of lies and even consider making our children swallow it as truth is as disgusting and foul a notion to me as picking up a turd from the toilet and eating it.

    I'm tired of eating white folk's shit.

    I apologize - I know this seems like the rant of a troll. But the overwhelming despair, anger and frustration cannot be expressed any other way.

    It's how I truly feel sometimes. About white people and the luxury they have to see or not to see. To acknowledge or not to know. To lie and have their lies known to be lies and still be able to foist them off on other people.

    I know it's not fair to tar all white people with the same brush, but honestly, I don't see them cutting minorities the same slack. Latinos, blacks, Asians (blacks get the "lowercase "b" now, you ever notice that?)....we all get lumped together according to what whites think we are. Why do I have to be the one differentiate between "good whites" and "bad whites" when as far as I'm concerned....they're all whites.

    Please understand....I am not this bitter and angry all the time. It's only days like today....when I read something like this...and I think of all the CURRENT LIES....and that doesn't even cover the history of white lies....

    ....and I wonder if the problem of whiteness can ever be resolved.

    Today, for me, it seems hopeless.

  13. this was definitely a lolsob for me. it's hilarious reading here in the context of this particular site, but quite frightening knowing that this is what white texans want to be taught in schools. i'm very afraid of the future right now...

  14. Honestly it is not all that different from what is already taught in k-12 social studies and history classes in the USA. Now that is the scary part.

  15. @ FilthyGrandeur (well hi there, welcome back!) & thelady,

    Well, it may be just a matter of degrees of ignorance, but I think what they're proposing -- and apparently what's coming -- IS different, in that it's turning up the dial on fundamentalist, Eurocentric indoctrination A LOT, and also, what they're proposing looks like it's going to nationwide.

    The Guardian has a good article on the Texas ish (where's the outrage in the U.S. corporate press?), including this scary bit:

    The education board has dropped references to the slave trade in favour of calling it the more innocuous "Atlantic triangular trade", and recasts the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as driven by Islamic fundamentalism.

    "There is a battle for the soul of education," said Mavis Knight, a liberal member of the Texas education board. "They're trying to indoctrinate with American exceptionalism, the Christian founding of this country, the free enterprise system. There are strands where the free enterprise system fits appropriately but they have stretched the concept of the free enterprise system back to medieval times. The president of the Texas historical association could not find any documentation to support the stretching of the free enterprise system to ancient times but it made no difference."

    The curriculum has alarmed liberals across the country in part because Texas buys millions of text books every year, giving it considerable sway over what publishers print. By some estimates, all but a handful of American states rely on text books written to meet the Texas curriculum. The California legislature is considering a bill that would bar them from being used in the state's schools.

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

    shit, seriously? i thought that was OP's clever hyperbole. that's absurd.

  17. Yes, heuristick, it's scary indeed when horrific realities outstrip satire.

    This modest proposal of yours is an awesome post, Chauncey, thank you.

    *shivers of horror running up and down my spine*

  18. "Lately, it's harder & harder for me not to hate white people. All white people."

    Well, that's comforting.

  19. Colorblind,

    Is it safe to assume you're white? If so, and if you're looking to be comforted, you're definitely reading the wrong blog. Discomforting white people, in constructive ways, is what this blog is all about.

  20. I understand your blog, macon.

    I read it quite often. I'm not sure what my race has to do with it (oh, that must mean I'm white).

    I think you can agree, the comment I quoted does not offer better understanding. It is pure hate.

    I do not find it constructive.

  21. Colorblind,

    You're reading that walawell's comment in a self-serving way, and inaccurately as well. Read it again:

    "Lately, it's harder & harder for me not to hate white people. All white people."

    It's not pure hate, first of all, because it doesn't say "I hate all white people." It says instead that lately, it's hard NOT to do that (in other words, walawell doesn't actually hate white people -- the comment is not "pure hate.")

    Also, you're reading the comment in a self-serving way, a way that's all about you and your own feelings (which is, btw, mighty white of you). How about trying to figure out where walawell's feelings come from -- what causes them? You know, attending to the feelings and pain of the victims of racism, rather than to those of the oppressors?

  22. @ Colorblind

    But the statement is followed by an entirely constructive explanation. That's not pure hate.

    It is only natural to sometimes (and walawell did say "sometimes"), when things seem hopeless, resent the group that has the undeserved privilege you lack--even those members of the group who do their best to fight oppression. They still benefit from white privilege. It's ok to resent that from time to time.

  23. I read Walawell's comment and saw frustration, exhaustion, despair, and sadness. Thank you, Walawell, for the thoughtful, emotional piece. I read you, and I am with you. I'm so sorry.

    This whole movement makes me desperately sad. I'm not even using hyperbole when I say it keeps me up at night. It makes me feel physically ill.

  24. Hilarious yet dead-on. Then again, most history text books are mostly white-washed to begin with.

  25. Don't feel like the Lone-Ranger Walawell. I too get that way a lot, but what really drives me up the wall is that I get told that it's not all white people, it's black people too. To me it's like saying that I should excuse what whites have done and are doing to blacks. I'm frustrated, angry, depressed, and stressed all at the same time most of the time.

  26. [Colorblind, I'm not going to publish that last, dismissive, patronizing comment. You're right, you do have a "wrong impression on the purpose of this site." Here's hoping that you keep reading here, and that you get a better sense of what the purpose of this blog actually is. It's not all that hard to figure out. ~macon]

  27. @macon--
    thanks! i feel quite guilty for disappearing for so long!

    also, is the phrase "sin of omission" swimming around anyone else's head?

  28. @walawell...
    "Lately, it's harder & harder for me not to hate white people. All white people."

    I feel your frustration..
    As a 52 yr old black male, I'm awash sometimes in feelings of hatred and frustration for the things I see whites do and get away with every single day. I’m old enough to know better, and I tell myself it isn’t all whites; there are still a few bright lights out there. However, there are times when it comes weighing down on you and it just (to quote Nathan McCall) "Makes Me Wanna Holler." I don’t know how we blacks made it this far without losing our minds. I don’t agree with everything Jeremiah Wright spouted off during Obama’s campaign, but I can damn well understand his frustration. A big ditto!” on everything you’ve said.

  29. wallawell: Thanks for writing. What you wrote resonates with what I feel much of the time, even as I know that our lived experiences are different. My heart just breaks when I really think about things.

    About the OP, I had the same reaction as Sciencegirl and a lot of others: most of it sounds like the history I was taught in the 1950s and 1960s and many kids are taught today. It hits very close to home.

    And I had not realized that "Atlantic triangular trade" was real and not a parody until I read it here. It makes me sick.

  30. The more I become aware of the politics behind education, the more and more disturbing I find it. I also found the information in this article more scary than funny. It's only funny until you realize that it's real. There is so much scandal in education you would not believe it. If I anyone knew what goes down in FL you'd probably be a lot more worried about this becoming more widespread. I'll try to keep my comment short. Just - consider the slashing that education budgets are taking, the push for charter schools (AKA how the government gets to wash its hands of public education except for some overseeing from afar)- do some research on Neil Bush and his software company Ignite, the introduction of the FCAT while Jeb Bush was Florida's governor (FCAT is the guinea pig of standardized testing that started in Florida and Texas that you are likely enjoying an offshoot of if you have school children at home), and while George W Bush was president creating some bullshit called the No Child Left Behind Act. You won't think there is anything remotely funny about the thought of people changing history. You will find it hard to sleep at night knowing that it's actually happening. Education is shamelessly political. I end up hearing about a lot of things I wish I could be ignorant of.

    When I read this, I think of how real it is. Education has nothing to do with educating children or preparing them to be involved in or to compete in a world market some day. Education is a business - plain and simple. A dirty and corrupt business. People stand to benefit from every lie being told, and every dollar being manipulated.

    Just give it a few more years. We'll all be sitting around wondering how all the public schools got turned into Charter Schools and why the principal is deciding the curriculum 'cause the government is only concerned with whether or not the kids can pass a test.

  31. @walawell

    And for good reason. I mean fuck, all the shit white people have been pulling in the last month alone, let alone the sum of their crimes throughout's really depressing and disgusting.


    If you can read all of walawell's impassioned comment about the injustices and cruelties and evils that white people inflict on POC, and only talk about how 'hateful' it is, you may be a white person.

  32. And this is one of the main reasons why my husband and I have chosen to homeschool our children. I have a certification to teach secondary history and the state of history education is atrocious. people shrug it off as history being "unimportant" (especially in an age of standardized testing) but history is where we develop our consciousness as a nation and as members of a group, and when we are fed the WP version of history, we are merely perpetuating the racism that has marked that history so far.

    Ugh if I'm not making sense, sorry. But I teach my kids at home because (among other reasons) I want them to know the real story, not the "patriotic" version that so many white people take as gospel

  33. @lucy, at what cost? If you're white, homeschooling may help you 'protect' your children from the lies in textbooks, but it also 'protects' them from interacting with PoC, much like a segregated school. Do you have a solution to balance that?

    Wouldn't it be a lot more beneficial, to your children and to society, to watch carefully and raise hell whenever you find the school system teaching false history (or other falsehoods) to your children. If you're white (and thus have white privilege) you could use that privilege constructively, taking it to the press, school board meetings, or even to court where your concerns will carry disproportionately high weight.

  34. @wallawal,

    I think you should read the Wretched of the Earth by Fanon.

    It's a point many oppressed people get to, sheer frustration, in regards to constantly being downtrodden. Hopefully you can identify with it. I know people get a bit scared away by these more radical voices, but these radical voices are just manifestations of how compounded oppression can get.

  35. In a class of mine in pre-college level writing, I had assigned students to write sentences that used certain pairs of words to contrast the meanings. For a sentence using "racism," one student wrote, "The era of racism was the 1960s." This is presumably what he had been taught in high school history. It was an opportunity for me to say some things about how racism is not limited to a historical period, and I took it, but I was flabbergasted.

  36. This is hilarious...and to me completely terrifying, because this is the exact same rhetoric I saw when I was living in China as their way of defending occupations, genocides, and a whole slew of gross human rights violations.

    Yay for having a home-grown version.

  37. Man, I really, REALLY wish I can freely laugh at this...but it's just way too real for me to do so because your just know in your heart of hearts that this type of junk is being concocted and spread around for real!

  38. 1776–War for Independence against the tyrannical, evil British empire. Colonists suffer oppression that is unprecedented in human history. Minutemen singlehandedly defeat the evil British Empire in 1783.

    My fiance goes to school in the USA, and has told me about how incredulous his classmates get when he points out that the US would not have won the revolution without the French.

    1823–America guarantees the freedom of all countries and people in the Western Hemisphere with the adoption of the Monroe Doctrine.

    It's frustrating how unaware most Americans are about the ridiculous amount of screwing around the US has done in Latin America. Like recognizing the fact that their country has supported brutal right-wing dictators makes you anti-American.

    The whole thing is the most patently self-serving, unfactual bull-crap.

    I also wonder whether this will prevent white folks from claiming that they are able to understand matters of race more "objectively" and "rationally", as an example of runaway white irrationality? (Probably not).

  39. @riche

    (I hope this doesn't strike an argumentative tone, since I don't want to come across that way!) First of all, we're Mexican-American. I know some people consider people of Hispanic origin white, so I guess maybe it's up for debate? But I would argue we have experienced our share of prejudice from the majority.

    Secondly, we are a military family. We move often. I said the history portion was one reason, not the whole thing. I won't waste much time justifying (since that isn't the purpose of this comment thread), but in addition to the problems we see in the public school system, we didn't think it would be good for our kids' education for them to have to change schools every three or four years.

    I totally agree with you that it is incredibly important for children to be around a wide variety of people and situations, and I go out of my way to get my kids involved in activities outside the home where they can experience the world around them. Any good homeschooler knows that this is part of the responsibility of educating your kids at home. And military bases are probably one of the most diverse populations a child can be exposed to, so I hope that they will benefit from that environment as well.

  40. Eddie Glaude, Jr., Ph.D. wrote a piece in the Huffington post:
    The Souls of Some White Folks

    “These sorts of white folk unsettle me. They seem to be blind to the suffering of others. They seem, at least to me, to be terribly selfish -- and dare to call that selfishness freedom, or to justify their own ugliness by an appeal to some abstract principle of states' rights. In the interim, those who are not considered "one of us" are left to suffer the ire and violence of bigots.”

  41. "The purpose of philosophy is not just to understand history, but to change it." -Karl Marx

    Who knew fundie Christianity was Marxist?

    More seriously, though, one of the major contributors here is the conservative/progressive (both WIWL and radical) split in education. Elementary ed is dominated by conservative white women. This is not an accident; it comes directly out of the fundagelical understanding of women's "nature" as grounded in submission and motherhood, and the absolutely jaw-dropping inability of white women to realize that they're merely collaborating with people who do not think we are equal in value; elementary school teaching is one of the few careers that right-wing evangelical women are actively encouraged to pursue (also nursing, journalism, and leading movements to tell other women God wants them to stay at home). Then
    combine this with the fact that American fundamentalist Christianity in the 20th century is based on a rejection of rational thought. Higher education has no place in fundie Christianity (hence "Bible colleges").

    Meanwhile, progressives of various natures, who actually care about knowledge and such, flock to levels of education where you get to dig deeper. Except by the time kids hit jr/sr high school, they're firmly indoctrinated on one hand; and on the other you have either a sense of (in white suburban schools, at least) must get good grade must get into good college in which shallow memorization of dates and names becomes more important than actually understanding what happened. It's the curse of the 'information dump'--2 million Africans who died en route on the "Atlantic triangular trade" becomes just another fact to fill in on the Scantron.

  42. Feel good history is the reason why so many whites have short memories. Instead of historical truth, US history is presented as a bunch of pointless factoids i.e. George Washington's wooden teeth (is that even important?) and happy endings. It also reaffirms the false idea that working hard equals success when racial domination through racism has never been about working hard.

  43. Oops, sorry 'bout the weird pronoun switch. Thought I had changed them all.

  44. I'm sorry. What Colorblind said earlier was right.

    What I wrote was hateful. I meant it to be. I tried to temper it a little and honestly, I didn't expect MaconD to publish it. I thought it would be censored and I wouldn't have blamed him if he had.

    But when I wrote it, what I felt was hatred. And while I wrote it, the only saving grace is that, when I wrote it, although there are for me, moments where I despise whites collectively, I tried to actively get through that moment the way I always get through those moments: by naming, one by one, whites who I feel are an exception to the rule.

    There are whites I've known who truly had proverbial "racist bone in their body." People I've encountered who were such gracious human beings that they did not merely transcend racism, they simply embraced humanity. M.A., N.M., S.G., C.W.

    People I had as childhood friends who were so very wonderful that even today, they have never crossed the boundaries that can be the crushing disappointment & failure of friendships with whites.

    Far more common are the people I've encountered as adults. Mostly co-workers who, even in my presence, have expressed bigoted or outright racist sentiments - but they endeavor to treat me or other minorities by what they consider is their measure of "equality" or "fairness" and honestly, that's the best that can be expected of them. Other whites call them "good people" - I treat them as I would a sleeping tamed animal - wake them up and they may or may not bite you. It's best to give them a wide berth or handle them with kid gloves lest they turn on you.

    So when I wrote it, it was hateful. And right now, I don't feel as hopeless or defeated. I'm not so much sorry for what I wrote but the hatred behind it & I honestly wish I could have expressed it another way.

  45. Walawell,
    of course you should do what feels best to you, but honestly, I don't want you to feel like you have to apologize. in my opinion, you have nothing to apologize for. (In fact, I feel a little like you're employing the tone argument against yourself :) )

    I really appreciated your candor and, while I of course can't speak to what you were feeling when you wrote your post yesterday, I did not hear hate. (Though I would be okay with hearing hate, FWIW). I heard anger, and sorrow, and pain, and I thought it was all totally justified. [In the words of a former favorite therapist, your post seemed like a normal response to an abnormal situation. That the abnormal has been so thoroughly normalized by whiteness must be crazymaking.]

    Also, I thought your post was very brave, and I wish I'd said all of this yesterday--if maybe part of what happened is that you didn't get enough validation and then began to second-guess yourself.

    I don't think I speak for only myself when I say that listening respectfully to whatever feelings POC here have--including hate-- about the racist crap they encounter all of the time is the very least white people can do

  46. In solidarity with what walawell wrote:

    For the whiney-ass White folk that were bothered by that and what's in the above link, WAAAAHHHH, WAAAAAHHH, FUCKIN' WAAAAAHHHH!!!

    Try not to fail so damn hard!

  47. In the words of a former favorite therapist, your post seemed like a normal response to an abnormal situation. That the abnormal has been so thoroughly normalized by whiteness must be crazymaking.


    "Everybody got that?" - Lord Helmet, Spaceballs

  48. Dear Walawell: Your "name" is new to me here, so in case it is not obvious, I'm white. I want to say to you that what you said is not offensive to me or to any white person who has been paying attention to racial issues. The inhumanity of the world we live in is very real and part of that reality is the emotional toll it takes on all of us who live in it, each of us in different ways depending on our place in the world and our openness to awareness of the lives of others.

    Ironically (or perhaps not?), I was off at a meeting last night where a local legislative body passed an implementation resolution to a racial disparities report. A bunch of us who'd showed up to speak in favor of the resolution were talking afterward. Despite being happy about the resolution passing, the conversation in this mixed-race group moved quickly to how bad things are, how angry people are about how much there is to do, and how hard it is to keep the faith and keep moving forward. People were telling stories of biased racial encounters in stores and expressing anger at white privilege. This is where we are, this is where we live. A roller coaster of emotions as we celebrate victories and get angry and despairing at how much there is to do.

  49. @Walawell

    There is no need to apologize. I hope that you continue to comment.

  50. Walawell, there is no need to apologize. What you said came from the heart. What you said needed to be said AND heard.

  51. Far more common are the people I've encountered as adults. Mostly co-workers who, even in my presence, have expressed bigoted or outright racist sentiments - but they endeavor to treat me or other minorities by what they consider is their measure of "equality" or "fairness" and honestly, that's the best that can be expected of them. Other whites call them "good people" - I treat them as I would a sleeping tamed animal - wake them up and they may or may not bite you. It's best to give them a wide berth or handle them with kid gloves lest they turn on you.

    Do we work at the same place?

  52. Haha! Hilarious! Its American history for the uber-Patriotic and pro-Capitalist crowd. Great! Would love to see this as a Mad TV or Saturday Night Live Skit!

  53. walawell,

    Thank you for your follow up. I think I ended up talking around you, and for that I apologize.

    All the best.

  54. @marissa

    how would they react if they were told that they didn't actually win the war, they just didn't lose? or how they lost to canada, the only one to actually 'win'?

    folks should check out the latest on this. has been covering the recent live sessions (i.e. one far right dude tried to add an amendment that requires the children to learn president obama's middle name, hussein. it was defeated when it was pointed out how obvious his intentions were and the fact that no one is required to learn the middle names of the other presidents. jefferson davis will be on equal footing as lincoln, as well as, confederate soldiers and figures being elevated as heroes, and of course the cause for the civil war being sectionalism, states rights and that order)

  55. Uggh, yes! The middle name thing bugs me so much! It's like...are you really going to play dumb and pretend that you just refer to all presidents with their middle names? I can count the presidents who've been popularly referred to with all 3 names on one hand, and in every other case it's either because of an initial-based nickname (JFK, FDR), or for clarity (John Quincy Adams).
    Do they always refer to him with his middle name in order to tell him apart from all the other Barack Obamas who've been presidents of the United States? And the "What? It's his name! I can't possibly understand what your problem is" reaction bugs the heck out of me.

  56. @lucy: Don't worry, it was my fault for jumping to conclusions. My view of home-schooling is as a very privileged, white institution. Obviously that's a very limited view so I'm happy to hear your perspective.

    @Walawell: I'm white and I don't expect any apology for what you said. It was honest and on-topic. Colorblind (the name says it all, doesn't it?...) is just the typical annoying "I'm not racist!" white person we get here from time to time.

  57. the texas textbook controversy angers me so much. i am planning to be a history teacher. we need more minorities to be history teachers since they will teach history as it really happened as opposed to the white glorification we are already seeing in classes.

    i don't think i will be teaching by the book and i can only hope current history teachers are smart enough not to teach by the book. conservatives do not have much knowledge in the history department or anything for that matter.

    i wish the south would just secede already.

  58. I bet they'll include Dennis Stanford's Solutrean theory to propose an all-white occupation of the Americas before the usurpation by American Indians. Seriously, people actually believe in that despite it being advocated by Stanford himself and Bruce Bradley while the majority of anthropologists look at it with quite the skeptical eye. I guess once Kennewick Man was proven not to be Caucasian but more of a Polynesian/Southeast Asian extraction they've been cornered into using Stanford's "Smithsonian" background. I feel ya, Walla.

  59. Well done, Macon. I actually choked on my cereal and had to have a coughing fit at Triangular Atlantic trade continues to bring wealth and prosperity to America while giving opportunities to new immigrants.

    Every time I've thought about this for the past week or so since reading that article in the Guardian, I feel incredulous. I still can't quite wrap my head around the idea that people have become so disconnected from slavery that they're able to downplay it like that. That they're able to take their convictions about how things are, and their belief in the wrongness of slavery, and then go, "Well, yeah, slavery was wrong. But my convictions about what children should learn are more important, so I'm going to pretend the horrors of slavery didn't really exist, because otherwise it'll damage the message I want to get across."

    There are some things in history that should never be minimized, ever. No message is important enough that it becomes ethical to minimize things like slavery and racism, the Holocaust, the genocide of Native populations*, etc.

    * I decided not to say "Native Americans", because it isn't only the Natives in America who were brutalized, killed, and oppressed. It's also the First Nations in Canada, and the Aborigines in Australia, and many others. None of it should be glossed over or ignored.

  60. Glad you liked it, Robin, but just to be clear, I didn't write it. It's a guest post by Chauncey DeVega, who blogs at We Are Respectable Negroes.

  61. well, the changes passed, and the changes last for at least 10 years before they can be changed again.

    besides the despicable revisionism that will be in the textbooks (in the best case scenario, still horrible, it won't go beyond texas) and dumbing down k-12, how will this effect things like the sat tests and post secondary and the kids unfortunate to be in any state that adopts this?

  62. riche,

    I did not choose the name colorblind. Macon created that name after I posted for the first time. I would respectfully ask that you forget your little fantasies and demeaning attitude.

  63. @Colorblind, ok, I'll reword what I said. Your comments annoy me in the same way comments from many white people who are unwilling to own up to their racism annoy me. And your dismissal of PoC anger at white behavior as "hate" offends me, just like white people dismissing Jeremiah Wright's sermons as "hate" offended me.

  64. @ Robin,

    >> "That they're able to take their convictions about how things are, and their belief in the wrongness of slavery..."

    But the thing you have to understand is--they don't all believe slavery is wrong. Oh, sure, they say "The treatment of slaves in the Americas was inhumane", but their Swiss cheese method of interpreting the Bible requires them to accept that it is fundamentally okay to own another human being. Thus they view even American slavery from the perspective of, even if subconsciously, "not enslaved human beings, but property".

    @ 7thangel,

    How much it affects the SAT II and AP tests depends largely on textbook publishers now. The AHA *needs* to get its shit together and start lobbying the industry *not* to, um, adapt. It would be great if they would push for greater accuracy than what is currently out there, but given how blah the response to the Texas change is, I wouldn't expect anything grand.

    Also, most colleges don't require US history (mine required 2 semesters of world history, but I think even that is rare), so maybe the AHA could lobby colleges to add USH to their core curricula. But that still leaves out anyone who doesn't go to college. :(

  65. @Willow: That's an excellent point. Ugh. (Although upon thinking about it, I disagree that it's a Swiss Cheese reading - there's plenty in the Bible that makes it clear that having slaves is fine, and exhorts slaves to obey their masters, etc. It's not like there's only a few tiny passages that they're cherry-picking to support the idea of slavery as acceptable. I suppose anyone who is a Bible literalist would need to accept slavery.)

    Re: college, it would also leave out those that go to fundie Christian colleges, where the curriculum is already Creationist-based and such. I don't think those kinds of colleges are going to have any problem supporting this form of revisionism.

  66. 2010: BP, its operational efficiency hampered by onerous government regulations, takes an enormous blow on the stock market as they are unfairly blamed for the administration's failure to respond to the relatively minor environmental disaster of a month-long release of freedom juice into the Gulf of Mexico.

    Walawall, I have been creatively discomforted, and I am happy about it. Thank you.

  67. It's really sad but it's not surprise nor is it new. People have been trying to "whitewash" the history of this country for a very long time, and then teaching kids the BS. History tries to make slavery and Jim Crow, genocide of Native Americans, trying to attack Chinese immigrants (in the late 1800s), Putting Japanese people in camps during WW2, and etc like it's really not a big deal... *sigh*

  68. This is probably how the far Right really looks at history...sooo sad.


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