In Colorado, the Jefferson County school board has passed a proposal to institute a curriculum review committee despite protests by high school students and teachers. The committee will review district courses, adding material to “promote citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free-market system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights.” Democracy Now! asked the proposal’s author, school board member Julie Williams, about the proposal’s mention of obedience to authority.
Julie Williams: “You know, I took those lines out of the national Republican resolution, as well as Texas, because I thought that it was misunderstood. I just think that what we are teaching our students, it’s not to suppress them. I want to teach them that our country is a great place to live.”
Growing up in the public school system, our history classes consisted of learning about European colonialism which was the attempt to create American patriotism at an early age. Even to those who ancestors were murdered, raped and enslaved by these so-called American settlers. These textbooks create heroes where none existed and ignore the real ones.
James Loewen is a textbook author and historian who spent eleven years researching U.S. history textbooks, their publishers and authors, the school boards and textbook adoption boards who control them, and the teachers who teach them. For this book he chose twelve textbooks that are representative of the books used throughout the country (one of them was my junior-year U.S. history book, The American Pageant) and studied them thoroughly. “Textbook authors need not concern themselves unduly with what actually happened in history,” he says, “since publishers use patriotism, rather than scholarship, to sell their books. Publishers market the books as tools for helping students to ‘discover’ our ‘common beliefs’ and ‘appreciate our heritage.’ No publisher tries to sell a textbook with the claim that it is more accurate than its competitors”.
Did you know that almost everything we were taught about Christopher Columbus’s personal life is either untrue or impossible to verify? That he was personally responsible for the start of the first slave trade across the Atlantic, and that he and his men committed vicious genocide and wiped out entire nations of Indians?
- “The soldiers mowed down dozens with point-blank volleys, loosed the dogs to rip open limbs and bellies, chased fleeing Indians into the bush to skewer them on sword and pike”.
- Not having found gold yet but needing something to send back to Spain, Columbus began a slave raid on Haiti. Then he set up a tribute system, in which Indians had to pay tribute every three months or have their hands cut off.
- When the tribute system failed because what it asked was impossible, he set up a system in which he granted entire Indian villages to a colonist or group of colonists. This situation was so horrible that Indians commonly committed suicide and killed their own children so they wouldn’t have to endure it.
Did you know that the FBI actively persecuted and tried to sabotage Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement? J. Edgar Hoover—with the approval of Attorney General Robert Kennedy—bugged MLK’s hotel rooms and tapped his and other civil rights leaders’ phone lines. “A high FBI official sent a tape recording of King having sex, along with an anonymous note suggesting that King kill himself, to the office of King’s organization.” J. Edgar Hoover called King “the most notorious liar in the country,” and tried to prove that many of the civil rights leaders were communists. For many years during the civil rights movement the FBI (and the government) attacked black and interracial organizations, but none of the twelve textbooks includes any of this information.
The lies that I myself were taught and the continuous detrimental effects of this unjust way of teaching, or should I say lack thee of keeps those who do not seek the truth under a system of mind control. If you grow up being taught and believing these lies, you feel a sort of allegiance to a country who does not deserve such.
In 1923, the words, “the Flag of the United States of America” were added. At this time it read:
“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
In 1954, in response to the Communist threat of the times, President Eisenhower encouraged Congress to add the words “under God,” creating the 31-word pledge we say today. Bellamy’s daughter objected to this alteration. Today it reads:
“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
This is what we are instructed to say in elementary school. An early mind control instilled in our children. It is up to family and friends who know all the wrong this does to a society and to teach our children the truth.
Book of the Week!
If and when a historian sets the record straight on the experiences of enslaved Black women, she (or he) will have performed an inestimable service. It is not for the sake of historical accuracy alone that such a study should be conducted, for lessons can be gleaned from the slave era which will shed light upon Black women’s and all women’s current battle for emancipation.