I got this letter in my inbox from the folks at CREDO–a sort of political action group funded by the long distance telephone company, Working Assets. For the most part, I agree with the email, and encourage you to click over and sign the petition.
I have one small nitpick, however. Ok–I know it sounds cool and everything–but does the Texas Board of Education *really* have to be called the Taliban?
If you thought that decisions made by the Texas State Board of Education don’t affect you, think again.
Led by far-right ideologues, the Texas SBOE recently gave preliminary approval to a plan that would radically change what children across the country learn in history class.
The ultra-conservative majority on the board (none of whom are experts in any academic discipline and many of whom are explicitly anti-science) took the curricula proposed by teachers and made over a hundred changes to “correct” the perceived left-wing bias.
But it gets worse. Since Texas is one of the largest textbook markets in the country, material written to cater to the Texas curricula will find its way into textbooks across the country unless textbook publishers take a stand.
We can’t allow a small group of extreme ideologues on the Texas State Board of Education to re-write history. Click here to tell textbook publishers to stand up to the Texas Taliban.
Children who use textbooks conforming to the new standards will not learn anything about the political philosophy of Thomas Jefferson or his thoughts on the separation of church and state. When they learn about the Civil War, they’ll have to study Jefferson Davis’ inaugural address alongside Abraham Lincoln’s. And when they study the civil rights movement they’ll have to learn about the “unintended consequences” of Great Society programs, affirmative action and Title IX. Oh — and Joe McCarthy was right all along no matter what historians actually say about it.
It’s outrageous. Education will fail if we can’t teach our children history. We can’t let these far-right ideologues co-opt our educational system.
Click here to tell the textbook publishers: Don’t let the Texas Taliban rewrite history.
Thank you for standing up for the American educational system.
LiAnna Davis, Campaign Manager
Now, let’s be clear. I’m not defending the Taliban OR the Texas School Board. So, VLibertarians (aka VL readers who are libertarians)? Please put your swords away, nothing to fight with here.
What I would like us all to consider, however, is how many times organizing in the US really centers on our fear of “becoming” a particular “other.” If we’re not scared of becoming the Taliban, we all have to donate tons of money to X organization so that we don’t become socialists. Or Nazis. Or Teh Gays. The left in particular, is terrified of become the Taliban or being ruled by the Taliban (check out your average mainstream feminist organization sometime.). We could talk for hours about the effects of creating a perpetual ‘other’ in our organizing (what will we organize against when there’s no other left to organize against? for starters…) but for now, I just want to say that in the interest of recognizing root causes of issues–using the logic that a certain group of Arab men are the worst of all the worst and now a certain group of white men are ‘becoming Arab’ does very little to point to the root causes of the problems in the US for those who are racialized by white supremacy. In other words, the problem is not that white men in the US are “becoming Arab,” but that *white supremacy* can not be changed or reasoned with through the process of reform.
That is, we’re going to keep having these problems until we accurately understand the problem of white supremacy–and then as communities, as citizens, as perpetual border crossers, as humans–decide what the hell we’re going to do to end white supremacy, rather than negotiate with it.
I know that explaining white supremacy and advocating for community responses is not as concise and catchy as “The Texas Taliban.” But short term solutions have rarely done anybody any good for very long.
Maybe it’s something to consider.