Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Texas textbook refers to slaves as "workers" in section on immigration in America. Mother posts about it on Facebook, outrage ensues, and publishing company promises to alter passages.

Yes the slaves were just over here on a work program.

A work program that included daily whippings and abuse if they did not work hard enough, and the opportunity to have their loved ones and children sold to other plantation owners so that they would never see them again.

This page was in the a textbook called World Geography published by McGraw-Hill. And it was publicized on Facebook by a Houston mother by the name of Roni Dean-Burren who made this video.

That video went viral, and now, according to Wonkette, McGraw-Hill posted this comment about their racial insensitivity:

We believe we can do better. To communicate these facts more clearly, we will update this caption to describe the arrival of African slaves in the U.S. as a forced migration and emphasize that their work was done as slave labor. These changes will be reflected in the digital version of the program immediately and will be included in the program’s next print run. 

"We believe we can do better." Gee ya think? 

Anyhow I thought this was a good example of the power of social media, and a reminder that even though we might feel that nobody is listening to us, sometimes we can make positive change in this world.


  1. Anonymous12:13 PM

    They forgot to say some were also forced into being unpaid "sex workers" by their owners.

  2. Anonymous12:24 PM

    Hmmmmm? ok. But. It was not one race that were slaves. If you do your research you will find slaves of all nationalities. The Irish. The Asians. The Hispanics. Children were stole from UK and brought to america and used as servants. The working poor fled their homelands and came to America as workers/slaves. A good read? the book White Cargo. It is not about one race only. The picture is much bigger. From the beginning of mankind, man has enslaved his fellow man. We have much to place into the museum of history.

    1. Anonymous1:35 PM

      But this reference was about the Atlantic slave trade specifically. Slaves have existed for time immoral, but the African slave business was unique in its violence and depravity.
      What you're saying is that no slaves should be called "workers," since they had no power to have control over their lives. That's a fact, whatever their race or ethnicity.

    2. Anonymous2:36 PM

      OK then! You must be of the white revisionist wing of the anti black, what are they whining about wing of the pseudo intelligencia graduates of Glenn Beck University. Did you go there on a white christian born again scholarship?

    3. Anonymous2:45 PM

      Excuse me, but if we allow this worker program deginition of slavery, then in five years it will be an apprenticeship.

    4. Leland3:03 PM

      2:36, I feel your comment was completely uncalled for. Why? Because what 12:24 said is completely accurate. It isn't revisionist in any way. It is a major valid point. Just because you don't like it, doesn't mean it isn't true.

      By the same token the reply by 1:35 is also true and concentrates the point nicely. The posting wasn't about ALL the slave trade, it was about the Atlantic Slave Trade only.

  3. SallyinMI12:28 PM

    I would give MH credit, except that their textbooks go through the Texas State Board of Education, which then approves them, and they are usually adopted all over the country. So I'm certain that the SBOE either made these changes themselves, or approved them, and MH never blinked. Textbooks are big money. Good for this mom, and good on them for backing down, but they still haven't offered stickers to replace the lies, have they? Nope, they only do that to cover up the evil evolution in science texts.

  4. A Superfan In Atlanta12:59 PM

    What I still find absolutely fascinating is the denial of one's own truth in claiming pride in American history (i.e., exceptionalism and "take my country back") but then going out of the way to rewrite and/or erase it.

  5. Anonymous2:02 PM

    T for Texas!

  6. Caroll Thompson2:25 PM

    Plus slave owners used the bible to justify owning other human beings. Some things never change.

  7. Anonymous2:41 PM

    American exceptional, yeah. There's an article by an author I forget his name, AE Turned upside Down. Something like that in a journal. Talk about an eye opener.
    Work program, interesting white wash. Suppose the author found bleach that day.

  8. Anonymous3:29 PM

    I love it when racist people tell a black person to "go back to Africa", as if the slaves cane here of their own accord. Talk about ignorance!

  9. Anonymous4:33 PM

    Textbooks that are incorrect should be recalled.
    To leave them circulated as learning tools is to perpetuate a lie.

  10. Anonymous4:35 PM

    Incorrect copies should be recalled!
    To leave them circulated is to perpetuate a lie.

  11. Anonymous4:37 PM

    I think Americans know more about the Holocaust than they do the horrors of the American slave economy.

  12. Anonymous8:40 PM

    If things are the same, many non-Texan school districts use Texas approved books.

    I am now a retired California middle school History teacher (and over the years have taught all 3 grade levels[ 6-8]).

    I once found myself in Sacramento on a Textbook Review Committee. I believe it was one which made a final recommendation to a standing committee of some type.

    Even though the books to be considered went through a process in local areas, there were many issues with each textbook we reviewed during the last step.

    To appear on the recommended list it is my understanding that the alteration would need to be made.

    Also, there were representatives of various citizen groups explaining concerns they had. One big one was how various religions were explained and terminology used.

    The sad thing is in spite of corrections, etc., there is always something that is caught too late and as mentioned in at least one comment, the error will remain until a new textbook is approved. So, many years can go by and misinformation can be taught as fact by some teachers.

    Calling slaves--- workers makes absolutely no sense unless, the purpose is to "whitewash" the truth of history. Sadly, this may very well be the case in Texas.

  13. Anonymous10:46 PM

    In this day and age, the existence of an approved textbook with this type of thing in it is truly astounding.

    Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans in this country. If enough Democrats migrate to Texas, they could literally seize control of the textbook approval process and ensure that US textbooks contain Real Science, and Real History. However, we'd have to keep this plan a secret, because if the Texas Legislature got wind of it, they'd build a 20 ft. wall on all Texas state borders, and start requiring 30 years of continuous utility bills to attain Texas state citizenship. Living in Texas would be a lot like a life sentence in prison for many of us, but seriously, we should consider doing it. For the children.


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