today in black history

August 01, 2020

Educator and civil rights champion the late Dr. Benjamin E. Mays, President of Morehouse College, was born on this date in 1895.

Don’t Let Schools Lie to our Children.

POSTED: June 18, 2021, 7:30 am

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Over the last month conservative Republican politicians, with the support of right-wing groups and the Fox News Channel, have launched an all-out assault on the truth. Fearing that Black and brown people will be properly acknowledged in the historical account of this nation and that children will be taught about the twin evils of White supremacy and systemic racism, conservatives are feigning outrage over critical race theory and the New York Times 1619 Project. It is outrage born out of fear as one of the objections is to an academic framework that simply places our nation’s history in its proper context as racially constructed and its economic power built upon racism, and the other is to a true accounting of the origins of America and White supremacy. Clearly, this outrage, Trumpian in its excess and ignorance, is meant to shield children from a true understanding of this nation and its flaws, and prevent children the opportunity to construct a more culturally aware perspective on the history and racial identity of the United States.

From the arrival of the first enslaved human cargo at Jamestown to the founding of the Republic in 1776 in Philadelphia, a false narrative on ‘race’ has been advanced to perpetuate White entitlement. The founders of this nation were not honorable men. They were slaveholders and men of means whose only interest was protecting their economic self-interest. In present day accounts they are now sometimes accurately described as racists, but for the sake of historical illusion, society casts them as noble patriots. The flowery and idealistic language in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution was meant for White people. The institutions created in our system of governance were designed to protect White wealth; wealth accumulated on the backs of Black labor, enslaved and marginally ‘free.’ At no time in the history of the United States have Black people been treated or considered the equal of White people. Conservatives know this of course, but aim to create the illusion that somehow White children will be burdened if they are told the truth.

Now conservatives are scurrying around the country infiltrating the policymaking of local Boards of Educations and demanding that there is no discussion rooted in critical race theory in the classroom. Ironically, the framework is seldom, if ever, used in the context of K-12 instruction. What conservatives are really doing is promoting and perpetuating the myth of White exceptionalism. This will have a chilling effect on generations of children, White and Black, who will base their understanding of their country on lies. For too many decades, children have been fed lies in the classroom. It is why we see rampant ignorance amongst many White adults. They were never afforded an education free of bias, and as adults their lives, social networks and ‘standing’ are grounded in a narrative that positions their citizenship as legitimate and Black and brown people as having no redeeming value or humanity.

We cannot allow these attacks to go unanswered and we cannot allow these lies to persist. They are a threat to the future of this country and represent a deliberate attempt to undermine the browning of America. It is one prong of a deliberate strategy by conservatives to enable White minority rule or apartheid to take hold in the United States. This strategy includes weakening our system of elections and suppressing the votes of non-White citizens, making false claims about the 2020 election, attacking immigration, and scapegoating immigrants, and electing individuals to federal and state office whose only purpose is to foment chaos and disruption. This is a coordinated attack upon the democracy in theory that French diplomat Alexis de Tocqueville dissected for its flaws and contradictions.

“Conservatives are attempting to use public schools to delete from the public record the history of the treatment of Blacks and our contributions to this nation”

Parents cannot allow their children to be lied to in their schools. When history textbooks in public schools are fabricated to mask the truth and elevate Whiteness, and the role of race and racism in American history is discounted, parents should not tolerate the deliberate miseducation of their children. All parents should be alarmed but Black and brown parents, and parents of Black and brown children need to mobilize and act. As taxpayers, parents should not pay for their children being purposely deceived. In communities where conservatives are seeking to whitewash history, parents need to file federal lawsuits against those parties behind these efforts and seek relief under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. We are witnessing discriminatory practices on the basis of race. Conservatives are attempting to use public schools to delete from the public record the history of the treatment of Blacks and our contributions to this nation. Incidents and individuals such as the Rosewood and Tulsa massacres, the Red Summer of 1919 and the New York City Draft Riots and Harriet Tubman, Paul Robeson, Sojourner Truth, Marcus Garvey, Denmark Vesey, and Mary Church Terrell, now barely referenced in classrooms, will never see the light of day if parents do not act.

This is a time when parents must organize and assert their guardianship of their children. Do not sit back and allow your children to receive an inferior and politicized education. If public schools are being manipulated to the detriment of children, parents need to intervene.


Walter Fields is the Executive Editor of NorthStarNews.com.

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