One Arizona charter school has come under fire for using a books that claim to have found the benefits of slavery.
Who knew that kidnapping countless people from their homeland to become other people’s property and be treated as second-class citizens was a good thing?! UptownMagazine.com reports that Heritage Academy in Mesa, Arizona, did. We hope you can detect the sarcasm here.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AUSCS) filed a complaint against the school for using The 5,000 Year Leap and The Making of America in its curriculum. The books, penned by right-wing author Cleon Skousen, are required reading for Heritage seniors.
AUSCS took issue with this, and took concern to the state school board. In the organization’s complaint, it noted that the books taught incorrect “Christian nation” history and that they contained “sexist, racist and anti-Semitic messages.”
University of Baltimore law professor Garrett Epps described The Making Of America as a misguided text that claimed slavery was a good thing for black people. The book also blames abolitionist “intrusion” as the root cause of racism. Goodness knows that racism couldn’t possibly have been born of the mindstet that legally defined African Americans as 3/5 of a person in the constitution. That’s just a ridiculous idea!
Heritage High founder/principal Earl Taylor is standing by his decision to use the book in his school. He told The Arizona Republic, “Our purpose is not to convert students to different religious views. It is to show them that religion influenced what the Founders did.”
As an educator, one would hope that Earl would know how irresponsible it is to only present one perspective on history. It’s even more irresponsible to suggest that the devastation caused by slavery and its rippling effects (such as segregation and the denial of basic civil right) was a good thing for black people. It’s perplexing that anyone could look at the legacy of systematic discrimination, financial oppression, and disproportionate lack (or outright denial) of opportunity as a benefit to anyone.
As bad as this is, though, at least Heritage isn’t teaching other ill-advised classes! Here are a few that we hope never make it into the course catalog.
Stereotypes As Truth (History 206)
The saying goes that all stereotypes are based in truth. This course will explore how the mainstream has turned the behavior of a few people into broader “truths” about entire segments of society. Final will include a practical in justifying the use of racial/gender-based slurs in conversation.
Reinforcing The Glass Ceiling (Social Studies 310)
The Bible states that women are to be submissive. The only way to ensure that they stay in their place in modern times is to keep them from being totally independent. This course will explain the societal mechanisms, like the wage gap, designed to keep them from getting too self-sufficient and uppity. It’s for their own good!
The Miracle of Manifest Destiny (History 114)
Just as slavery was great for black people, Manifest Destiny was a huge help to Native Americans! This class will explain how taking over their lands and forcing them into tiny little pockets of land brought their community together.