Monday, April 13, 2009

100% Americans Censor Textbooks

One hundred percent Americans usually are the very first to ignore the most fundamental values of the Constitution. Consider that, for many years, the American Legion, a self-proclaimed first priority guardian of the Constitution, searched schoolbooks for un-American content, and then whipped up witch-hunts against bewildered educators who had adopted books the Legion’s censors didn’t like.

The Daughters of the American Revolution, an organization “dedicated to promoting patriotism, preserving American history, and securing America's future through better education for children,” also censored textbooks. In fact, in the 1960’s they published a “Textbook Study” listing a disquieting total of 170 books that they deemed unfit for the nation’s youth. The hyper-patriots at the DAR, charged that these offending e texts “described the U.S. as a democracy rather than a republic” and “emphasized the Bill of Rights rather than the Constitution.” One hundred percent Americans often worry about overemphasizing democracy and the Bill of Rights.

Such attacks haven't gone away. Textbooks are routinely criticized for their un-Americanism by everyone from home-brewed schoolbook review websites to right wing pundits at Fox News.

Faced with such complaints, state school authorities and local school boards typically grant them deference. It seems public servants are often reluctant to challenge the legitimacy of these complainant’s convictions or their self-serving interpretation of Americanism. Instead they treat the most ludicrous complaints with earnest attentiveness, thus exposing educators to insult and intimidation. These folks need to toughen up and tell our native-born Taliban where to get off. But, given the nature of the beast, such courage seems unlikely. -- GKC

See also Education for Democracy: is this more than rhetoric?

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