I wrote a while back about how an ultra-conservative group had passed a new history curriculum in Texas that was blatantly right wing, and contained multiple lies and distortions about America’s history.
The real danger was that this stupidity virus might spread around the US, and ultimately affect the whole population and through them the rest of the world.
The “demand” that is raising the most ire is this one:
“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.”
At first glance this seems to suggest that all minority groups should be excluded from American history text books.
On second glance however…wait…nope I was right the first time, that is actually what it means.
No minorities anywhere, unless they did something unimportant.
This is hardly new though. In most predominantly white countries with a brutal colonial history the contributions of non-whites are typically marginalised.
And yet prominent historian James Loewen has pointed out that the impact of Native American culture on Europe was even greater than the impact of European culture on the Natives.
Don’t believe me? Well try this on for size: what would Ireland be without potatoes, which came from America?
For that matter what would Italian cuisine be without the tomatoes that came from America?
Corn, sunflower, cotton, peanut, potato, avocado, tomato, peppers, blue berry, the squashes, beans, passion fruit, chocolate, even vanilla. All of these were Native American crops.
Try and imagine your own country’s food without those ingredients, and that’s the short list.
Native American tribes were also extremely egalitarian and democratic (at least compared to European culture) and this served as one inspiration for the Founding Fathers.
In fact calling the movement the “Tea Party” is also pretty fucking ironic considering what actually happened at the original ‘Tea Party’.
You see friends when the Boston Tea Party took place the protesters dressed as “Indians” not to hide their identity but because Native Americans were recognised as a powerful symbol of freedom for the American colonists.
But because this inconvenient truth doesn’t fit with the dominant anti-native narrative in school history curricula the ideas of Loewen and other historians are ignored.
It also doesn’t fit in with the Tea Party’s completely obvious racist slant.
And it’s going to get worse if the Tea Party gets its way.
After all, claiming that the Founding Fathers were inspired by Native Americas would definitely “obscure” their “contribution”, at least in the mind of the Tea Party.
And things get even more bizarre when you read this complaint by one of the Tea Party spokespeople that history books contain:
“an awful lot of made-up criticism about, for instance, the founders intruding
on the Indians or having slaves or being hypocrites in one way or another.”
Friends, this is the issue in a nut shell. The Tea Baggers are such total fanatics that they either don’t care that these “accusations” are true, or they are so deeply in love with their image of the “Founding Fathers” that they actually believe that the men never did anything wrong in their whole lives.
So I hope that there are still people in America who are secure enough in their identity that they don’t have to invent false gods to idolise.
Cause if not, we might all be in trouble.
[Standard Disclaimer: this post was entirely my own opinion and was not paid for in any way, directly or otherwise, by anyone or anything that stands to gain in any way from the ideas expressed herein.]