Scholars say Virginia’s Approved Textbooks are Rife w/Mischaracterizations & Missing Info about Black History [in service of White Supremacy]

Happy slaves? The peculiar story of three Virginia school textbooks   .  Amos Wilson explains that "an objective of      white supremacy      is to decontextualize subject matter and project it as race neutral and objective."

Happy slaves? The peculiar story of three Virginia school textbooks. Amos Wilson explains that "an objective of white supremacy is to decontextualize subject matter and project it as race neutral and objective."

According to FUNKTIONARY:

His-story - the account of how varying forms of slavery have failed to fulfill the aspirations of schizophrenic barbarians. 2) his lie commonly agreed upon as historic fact. 3) a fiction widely accepted. The absence of the presence of our past and exclusion of presence for the future splits the present like a conquered nation rendering interpretation and speculation ineffective as a means of predicting present events cadenced in time. When we speak of a sense of his-story and not a sense of our unfoldment in higher states of awareness in impersonal Consciousness, we conveniently replace our destiny with an illusion and thereby dismiss the Noble Law of Life and Infinity. (See: Caucasian, Civilization, Law, Order, Finitude & Manifest Destiny)

From [VAMercury] According to a Houghton Mifflin Harcourt textbook allowed for use in Virginia high school classrooms, the 1965 Watts riots in Los Angeles were a burst of violence brought on by black Americans’ frustration about discrimination.

But that’s not the whole story: Before the riots broke out, there was a violent confrontation between police and onlookers during an arrest of a black driver and his relatives, noted Shawn Utsey, director of the African American Studies Department at Virginia Commonwealth University.

“The Watts story leaves out the major precipitating event — police brutality during an arrest,” Utsey said in an email after reviewing the excerpt. “It makes it sound like violence just erupted out of thin air. I think the description is problematic in that it leaves out the context for the violence and fails to mention the violence that sparked the violent reaction.”

Throughout Virginia’s approved history textbooks are mischaracterizations and missing information about major events in African American (and other groups’) history, state officials and educators say. The state’s Standards of Learning, which are supposed to be reflected in the books, make only passing references to African Americans, some scholars said.

That’s become an issue for Gov. Ralph Northam, who says he is on his own journey to better understand racial history and how it still affects the state in the wake of his blackface scandal.

Northam’s racial reconciliation efforts have included private meetings with black community leaders, cancelled speaking engagements at historically black colleges and universities and a list of legislative priorities he’s tried to support through his vetoes and approvals.

At a community meeting in Danville, Northam said that he’s noticed information students are being taught about African American history is “inadequate and often times inaccurate,” the Danville Register & Bee reported.

Virginia’s curriculum often skips over major events in black history and leaves out some information, said Ofirah Yheskel, the governor’s press secretary.

Two ways the state manages what students learn in the classroom are the Standards of Learning, Virginia’s expectations for what students should learn in different subject areas throughout their careers, and which textbooks are approved for use.

William & Mary history professor and parent Carol Sheriff found a number of concerning passages in her daughter’s fourth-grade history textbook in 2010, which prompted Virginia to create a new textbook adoption and revision process.

Sheriff took particular issue with a passage that claimed thousands of slaves fought alongside Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson in the Confederate army.

“To my knowledge, not a single piece of peer-reviewed scholarship contends that blacks served in such large numbers as soldiers (rather than laborers) in the Confederate army or that Stonewall Jackson commanded black soldiers (rather than black laborers),” she wrote in a Civil War research journal.

The passage was in a book by Five Ponds, a Connecticut-based company. The Board of Education temporarily removed Five Ponds’ books from its list of approved books in 2010. The books were corrected and new editions remain on the list of approved textbooks for use in kindergarten to fourth grade. 

Out of the 2010 controversy came new rules for textbook adoption: Publishers are required to show proof they consulted a content expert while writing; the company is responsible for the price of fixing errors and providing corrected books and they must submit a corrective action plan to the state to prove they’ve addressed problems identified by reviewers.

Since those rules were put into place, only Five Ponds has been required to submit a corrective plan to the state. Reviewers pointed out a range of issues in the books, like making it seem only the Lakota tribe lived in the American plains and glossing over the details of the Emancipation Proclamation.

The company responded to many of the issues raised by reviewers by saying it would be fixed in future editions or that the SOLs didn’t require such information.

“With a review process that apparently values correlation with the Standards of Learning curriculum above accuracy, the department indirectly influences not only what gets into textbooks but what does not,” Sheriff wrote.

It’s difficult to know how much incomplete or inaccurate information is included in textbooks approved for use in the state. Virginia allows people to submit concerns about inaccurate information in textbooks via email and allows public comment on the material during the process of adding titles to approved lists. [MORE]