Taking a page from George Orwell’s 1984, Texas passed a bill earlier this year, SB 3, which tightly regulates what may be taught in history and civics classes in Texas schools.
Here are the selections of what has been expressly forbidden by the act:
- The writings of: George Washington;
- Ona Judge;
- Thomas Jefferson;
- Sally Hemings; and any other founding persons of the United States;
- Writings from Frederick Douglass’s newspaper, the North Star;
- The Book of Negroes;
- The Fugitive Slave Acts of 1793 and 1850;
- The Indian Removal Act;
- Thomas Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists; and
- William Still’s Underground Railroad Records;
- Historical documents related to the civic accomplishments of marginalized populations, including documents
- The Chicano movement;
- Women’s suffrage and equal rights;
- The civil rights movement;
- The Snyder Act of 1924; and
- The American labor movement;
- The history of white supremacy, including but not limited to the institution of slavery, the eugenics movement, and the Ku Klux Klan, and the ways in which it is morally wrong;
- The history and importance of the civil rights movement, including the following documents:
- Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” and “I Have a Dream” speech;
- The federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. Section 2000a et seq.);
- The United States Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education;
- The Emancipation Proclamation;
- The Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
- The Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution;
- The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit decision in Mendez v. Westminster;
- Frederick Douglass’s Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave;
- The life and work of Cesar Chavez; and
- The life and work of Dolores Huerta;
- The history and importance of the women’s suffrage movement, including the following documents:
- The federal Voting Rights Act of 1965 (52 U.S.C. Section 10101 et seq.);
- The Fifteenth, Nineteenth, and Twenty-Sixth Amendments to the United States Constitution;
- Abigail Adams’s letter “Remember the Ladies”;
- The works of Susan B. Anthony; and
- The Declaration of Sentiments;
- The life and works of Dr. A Hector P. Garcia;
- The American GI Forum;
- The League of United Latin American Citizens; and Hernandez v. Texas (1954).
The full text of the bill is included at the end of this post. It is an understatement of magnitude to say that the character of “Big Brother” in Orwell’s book would be proud of Texas’ efforts to erase the racist facets of our nation’s history by eliminating the teaching of it within the state.
It is not surprising that the idea of teaching “opposing views” of the Holocaust have also been raised in the state.
The erasure of this history of women’s rights makes one wonder if Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaids Tale was viewed as a “how-to” manual by this legislature and governor. (The draconian anti-abortion law drawn up in Texas most certainly creates that assumption.)
Removing historical teachings of slavery, racism, oppression and genocide from education is clearly an effort to erase awareness of a past where these atrocities were considered normal.
It is a fact of life that people are basically good. And good people learn from past mistakes, no matter how bad they are. A tiny minority of the population have other ideas. They’d rather have the past forgotten and whitewashed into something pristine that it never was. There is an evil factor to this. That tiny group of psychotics actually want the past to come back. And believe me when I tell you the effects of trying to resurrect the evils of the past make for horror of untold magnitude. Where do you think Hitler got the idea for the Einsatzgruppen? (These were the SS units in WWII that went into occupied areas of Europe and Russia and literally wiped out the populations in those areas. The idea being to create new territory for Germany to expand into.) He got the idea from us, in the way the US government wiped out the native populations of this continent.
The Department of Justice was established in 1870, with a core purpose of enforcing civil rights in that it was first assigned the enforcement of the KKK Act. It needs to step up its actions in states like Texas that are aggressively pursuing a path of erasing our history. We certainly do not want to see an unawareness of history being used to cause a repetition of it.
Full text of SB-3: