OPINION: The GOP’s War On “Ethnic” History

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The Republicans are waging a war on history. Not just Black history, or Latino history, but the history of the United States of America and the world as a whole. In Arizona, the Governor recently signed a bill prohibiting the teachings of “classes that advocate ethnic solidarity, that are designed primarily for students of a particular race or that promote resentment toward a certain ethnic group.” In Texas, they are changing the textbooks to put more focus on the achievements of Judeau-Christian white men and less on the impact of Latinos racism and Black Culture.

What these right wing activists are doing is trying to shape history to fit their own racist views. The reason for the Arizona ban on ethnic studies, was that Tom Thorne, the states school chief heard that a Latino activist told students “Republicans Hate Latinos.” The Arizona bill is intended to stop “ethnic solidarity” and “resentment towards a specific ethnic group” but it seems as if the educational board is more concerned with resentment against Republicans than of white people.

This really means that they do not want to teach students about Black pride, Latino pride or to teach anything that would paint European-Americans in a bad light and encourage any solidarity that give minorities as sense of pride.

While nobody should be taught to resent European-Americans, history cannot ignore slavery, segregation, colonialism and the genocide of Native Americans and the role that European Americans had in those matters. Still the European-American abolitionists and civil rights workers and others who fought against oppression should be taught about along with the Black, Latino and Native American freedom fighters.

In Texas, a group of far right conservatives have taken over the State Board Of Education and tried to make the history textbooks reflect their ideals and beliefs. They have attempted to remove all mentions of Civil Rights legend and Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall and Latino activist, Cesar Chavez, in an educational system that is 60% Black and Latino.

Black history, Latino history and Native American history are all parts of American history; to ignore them is to ignore America. This bill is similar to the recent honoring of “Confederate History Month” which honored Rebel Soldiers but ignored slavery. As we America moves on we must remember our history, in order that the negative aspects of history don’t repeat themselves, we must learn about the negativity connected with European-Americans conquest of the Native Americans. History should be based on fact and not political viewpoints. As America changes, so does its history, and our textbooks need to reflect the changing face of America as much as our President does.

Every group in America has its own histories and stories. We cannot whitewash history and idolize leaders while ignoring the oppression and struggle of others. Every American should take pride in the leaders of all colors who helped fight slavery, segregtion, racism and the oppression of Native Americans. Everybody’s history should be told so Americans can see the common bond not just between those who have the same background as them but the bond between all Americans alike.

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