The race to the bottom for Tea Party infested states continues with greater degrees of whackadoodleness. In an attempt to outdo Arizona and Texas’ efforts to keep history as white as the finest grade of meth sold in said states, Tennessee Tea Party Politicians is seeking to remove references to slavery and mentions of the country’s founders being slave owners. The nutters are demanding for the second time that Tennessee lawmakers change state laws governing school curricula. The group called for textbook selection criteria to include: “No portrayal of minority experience in the history which actually occurred shall obscure the experience or contributions of the Founding Fathers, or the majority of citizens, including those who reached positions of leadership.”
That means Slavery is out, Jim Crow is out, Lynching out (except Leo Frank and the mass Italian lynchings in 1891), Native American genocide and the Trail of Tears is out, Chinese Exclusion Act is out and the Japanese internment & The Guantanamo Bay detention camp is out. I could go on but, but I think you have the picture. 49% of 55 men at Constitutional Convention owned slaves. This doesn’t include Ben Franklin, Richard Bassett and John Dickinson who owned slaves for the majority of their lives and manumitted them before 1776. Therefore, the majority of the Founders were slave owners.This doesn’t fit in with Michelle Bachmann’s deluded fever dream that the Founding Fathers worked tirelessly to end slavery and that black children were better off as chattel. Many apologists like to point out the faux abolitionist sentiments of Thomas Jefferson as proof of the Founder’s disdain for slavery. Who can really accept the words of a man who made a 13 year old slave his concubine, produced six black kids and said that black women are the preferred lover of orangoutangs?. White supremacists still use this quote today, dreaming of the days when they could rape black women with impunity.
I think part of the anxiety multicultual education the desire to keep the idea that individual whiteness equals greatness. One can always think “I may live in a trailer park, be on meth with three fatherless children but at least I am white.” The vast majority of African Americans have whites ancestry & 10% of whites have African ancestry. Science has proven that skin color is not an accurate barometer of whiteness. If much of your identity is tied up with the fact that your European ancestry ties you to the Founding Father’s, you need to let that go because most African Americans do too.