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Black in America?

July 19, 2009

Every 10 years, the state of Texas reviews its curriculum. The hot debate now is social studies as many of the reviewers push to de-emphasize race and re-emphasize Christianity. “Reaching for examples of achievement by different racial and ethnic groups is divisive, David Barton, founder of WallBuilders, said, and distorts history” (Wall Street Journal).

Granted Texas is the same case that spawned the MUD case. For all that do not know, the MUD case challenged the necessity of the Voter’s Right Act in 2009 with the claims that it is troublesome and outdated. Racism has ended, they claim. Yet, the reviewers pushing for the religiously driven Social Studies curriculum hope to eliminate leaders such as César Chávez and Thurgood Marshall from the books.

The above statements represent the coverage currently offered by other newssources. As odd as it sounds, I think some of the reviewers make valid points in arguing that race should be de-emphasized in the history books. Barton goes on to say that students should interpret for themselves the impact that race has made on history by just reading history. People should not point out race, but just let it be taught. 

Barton writes, “The current emphasis results in pointing out differences between groups, thus emphasizing those things that divide rather than unite. It is literally taking E Pluribus Unum and reversing it to E Unum Pluribus – instead of many becoming one, we take the one and divide it into many. The separate culture strand should be removed – it detracts from the emphasis that should be placed on history, government, and geography, for when those three elements are accurately presented, culture is also accurately presented.”

Jesús F. de la Teja, chairman of the history department at Texas State University, suggested that Latinos be added to the history books as more diverse example of role models. Yet others, specifically President of Peter Marshall Ministries, Peter Marshall, said, “Additionally, the trend in American education has been to study American culture in comparison to other cultures around the world, which leads to the rejection of the idea that there is anything unique or exceptional about American civilization. Yet, various Texas state laws concerning education correctly call for a teaching emphasis on patriotism, citizenship, and the free-enterprise system. Fulfilling these educational mandates in the State of Texas will require the students to learn why America is the greatest country in the world, and why they should be proud to be an American.”

All of the suggestions are not Black and White and I encourage you to make your own judgements. Read the reviews and be active with the choice, especially if you are from Texas. Most textbook companies write their books to cater to the Texas market due to its size. The reviews are available at http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/teks/social/experts.html,

“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” Malcolm X

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