“When you control a man’s thinking you do not have to worry about his actions. You do not have to tell him not to stand here or go yonder. He will find his ‘proper place’ and will stay in it… His education makes it necessary.”
– Carter G. Woodson
Mis-Education of the Negro 1933 (Preface)
Taking inspiration from Woodson’s seminal work The Mis-Education Of The Negro, recent events have strongly suggested that the great issue affecting our time is already upon us. While W.E.B. DuBois proclaimed the problem of the 20th century to be the color-line, the 21st thus far has been locked in a battle against the ever alarming and willful spread of ignorance.
While racism still exists alongside sexism, classism, and a host of other prejudices and injustices brought on by hegemonic patriarchy, none of these battles can be won with such ignorance and in some cases, rampant stupidity clouding the discussion. And while health care, the economy and the environment are the political issues of the day, too often the discourse is bogged down by the empty noise of partisan talking points, half-truths and outright lies. It is for these reasons that the disappearance of common sense and critical thinking is the dominant issue of our time.
Just this week in Texas, that state’s Board of Education kept the ball rolling in the wrong direction as it held its preliminary vote on the social studies curriculum standards to be taught for the next 10 years. The overwhelmingly conservative board passed a number of stunning changes to how history will be taught in that state, and maddeningly will have ramifications nationwide. As one of the largest consumers of textbooks, publishers often tailor their texts around these standards to avoid having to print multiple editions. As a result the inmates are running the asylum and altering the framework for what our history books may look like going forward.
Just a few of the low-lights: Read more…