January 13, 2011

Tennessee teabaggers want to rewrite textbooks

Tea parties issue demands to Tennessee legislators

Among 5 priorities, state group wants kinder treatment of Founding Fathers in history courses

By Richard Locker
The material calls for lawmakers to amend state laws governing school curriculums, and for textbook selection criteria to say that “No portrayal of minority experience in the history which actually occurred shall obscure the experience or contributions of the Founding Fathers, or the majority of citizens, including those who reached positions of leadership.”

Fayette County attorney Hal Rounds, the group’s lead spokesman during the news conference, said the group wants to address “an awful lot of made-up criticism about, for instance, the founders intruding on the Indians or having slaves or being hypocrites in one way or another.

“The thing we need to focus on about the founders is that, given the social structure of their time, they were revolutionaries who brought liberty into a world where it hadn’t existed, to everybody—not all equally instantly—and it was their progress that we need to look at,” said Rounds, whose website identifies him as a Vietnam War veteran of the Air Force and FedEx retiree who became a lawyer in 1995.
ThinkProgess.org explains what's wrong with this effort:

Tennessee Tea Party Demands School Curriculum Not Focus Too Much On The ‘Minority Experience’

By Alex Seitz-WaldWhat “truth” do these conservative activists demand be taught? Apparently it doesn’t involve portrayals of the “minority experience” or anything else that might taint their mythical hagiographies of the Founding Fathers. At a press conference, the activists said they want a focus on the “progress” the Founders and “the majority of citizens” made, to the exclusion of supposedly “made-up criticism” about slavery and the treatment of Native Americans.

It’s unclear what these activists think is “made-up” about the very real history of slavery in America or the very real intrusion on Native American lands by early American settlers.

This effort could be dismissed as a the work of handful of obscure activists in Tennessee were it not part of a much larger conservative attempt to rewrite American history without all the unflattering bits. Like their supposed reverence for the Constitution, when conservatives speak warmly of American history, they tend to pick and choose only the parts which reflect their contemporary world-view—and they are equally eager to sanitize the parts that do not.
Comment:  For more on rewriting textbooks, see Indians in Christian Textbooks and Conservatives Want Christian Textbooks. For more on the Tea Party version of history, see Tea Party Guide to American History and Teabaggers = Constitutional Hypocrites.


Anonymous said...

The problem is that they seem to think the Founders were infallible.

Except they weren't. The entire way Congress is organized indicates each state trying to garner more votes. The three-fifths compromise embodies this: You have people saying black people are human except when you count them on the Census, and people saying black people are property except when you count them on the Census. The Constitution allows for slavery. The Declaration of Independence lists King George III refusing to protect colonists who went on a genocidal rampage west of the Appalachians as a "tyrannical act". Motes and beams, my friend.

Rob said...

For more on the subject, see:


Tea Party wants teachers to find good in slavery

Tennessee teachers shouldn't talk about American slavery and race together. That's what the State's Tea Party is saying.

It's on of a list of the five legislative priorities presented to state legislators by several Tennessee tea parties, includes a proposal to eliminate from history books references to the Founding Fathers owning slaves or encroaching on Native American lands, originally reported by a Memphis newspaper.

We talked to Tea Party leader Hal Rounds Wednesday. He described the way slavery is taught now as race-baiting. When asked if kids are walking out of school thinking our founding fathers were evil, he said "(The kids) are being taught (the Founding Fathers) were hypocrites and slave owners and part of the teachings about slavery was that it was inherently cruel."