Whitewashing, then and now

This post was written by Friday guest blogger Annie Reid.

Personal favorite Boing Boing prints excerpts from a 1863 North Carolina geography reader for “Dixie Children”:

Q. Which race is most civilized?
A. The Caucasian.

Q. Which are the most ferocious and savage?
A. The Indian, Mongolian, Maylay and African.

Q. Is the African savage in this country?
A. No; they are docile and religious here.

Q. How are they in Africa where they first come from?
A. They are very ignorant, cruel and wretched.

But even more interesting is reader Paul Jones’ comment that some of the teaching materials used today aren’t too far removed from this tone:

At a time when a church school in Cary (just beside Raleigh where the 1863 book was published) is teaching from a pamphlet titled “Southern Slavery: As It Was” which tells us that “slavery was a relationship based upon mutual affection and confidence”, we need to blunt force of historical evidence to impell us to face the sad facts.

More details on Paul’s webpage here.

Maud examines more textbooks of shame here.


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