Humans are predisposed to focus on themselves. This psychological filter — natural bent — directs how people see the world around them. Whitewashing Black History is a prime example. Irrational fear that foments the movement to rewrite or completely erase it is at an all-time high, threatening to undo decades of civil rights progress.
A small but vocal group is behind the current push to record the American story incorrectly. They believe the lie that non-whites will replace whites. However, the reality is White Americans outnumber every ethnicity in the country, 75.8%. Somehow, they think teaching the truth about Black History and systemic racism will change this imbalance.
Unsurprisingly, white bias systemically suppresses teaching Black History in public schools, particularly in Southern states. They whitewash or distort the curriculum surrounding Reconstruction and slavery. Additionally, they bristle against politically fraught terms like systemic racism.
The public’s reaction to George Floyd’s brutal murder on May 25, 2020, further bolstered the reemergence of an American tradition — whitewashing and distorting race-related facts. As a result, a robust reactionary movement prompted book bans and increased violence against Blacks in the United States. These counter-revolutionary forces moved to quash honest and open discussions about America’s obfuscated racial past.
Furthermore, they advocate for the suppression of factually-based education surrounding Black History. These racist acts evolved into conservative legislators pushing for a legal ban on teaching so-called divisive concepts, including Critical Race Theory (CRT) and the New York Times’s “1619 Project.”
Heritage and Truth Matter
Historian Dr. Carter Godwin Woodson, and brainchild behind the precursor to Black History Month, “Negro History Week,” passionately believed that Black people should have pride in their heritage. Furthermore, he thought that “all Americans should understand the largely overlooked achievements of Black Americans.”
Moreover, the scholar often referred to as the father of Black History declared that recording the past is vital to racial preservation.
Dr. Woodson wrote: “If a race has no history, if it has not worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and its stands in danger of being exterminated.”
The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), founded in 1915 by Dr. Woodson, is the official promoter of Black History Month. ASALH president W. Marvin Dulaney called Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass the “two people central to affording Black people the experience of freedom they have now.”
Celebrate Black History Month: Educate Yourself
Every American president has officially declared February as Black History Month, beginning with Gerald R. Ford. He called on the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”
Most communities offer events to bolster Black History’s purpose, expand civic awareness, and promote the truth about America. In addition, organizations such as ASALH offer education through various means, including YouTube video presentations.
The New York Times “1619 Project” 6-part limited docuseries starring Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones is streaming on HULU. Furthermore, the “The New York Times Presents The #1619Project” discussion is available on YouTube.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
(Originally published on Guardian Liberty Voice)
Steady: Race Matters; by Dan Rather and Elliot Kirschner
Reno Gazette-Journal: Op-ed: We shouldn’t try to rewrite history; by Billie Garrow
The Guardian: The fight to whitewash US history: ‘A drop of poison is all you need;’ by Julia Carrie Wong
NPR: It’s Black History Month. Here are 3 things to know about the annual celebration; by Scott Neuman