February 1, 2019
Racism in America
U.S. history textbooks have a tendency to glorify the formation of our
country, particularly the founding fathers who fought for “life, liberty, and the
pursuit of happiness.” The irony is that despite their pursuit for promoting
liberty, they were also responsible for the promotion of slavery.
In Chapter 5, Gone With The Wind: The Invisibility of Racism in American
History Textbooks, Loewen makes an important point about the misconceptions
being taught in high school textbooks about slavery. He states that students
are being misled about slavery, particularly about how slavery mainly occurred
in the south. He also states that students are primarily taught about the evils of
slavery, yet the racism that underlies the principles of slavery is not addressed.
The fact that the relationship between slavery and racism is glaringly omitted
is speaks volumes.
Loewen also notes that many American presidents before Lincoln were
slave owners and had the belief that it was their god-given right as “whites” to
own slaves. Thomas Jefferson, one of our founding fathers and the one who
asserted the notion that everyone had an equal right to “life, liberty, and the
pursuit of happiness,” is described in one high school textbook as an
individual who was "shy," "stammered," and "always worked hard at what he
did.” However, nothing is mentioned about the fact that he personally
enslaved 175 human beings. In fact, not one thing is ever taught or mentioned
about the hypocrisy of how all of our founding fathers were slave owners who
pursued liberty for just the whites. This intentional omission is a clear
example of how students continue to...