The Florida Republican-dominated State Legislature most recently passed a bill that will limit discussions teachers and businesses can have about race. The bill reads in part, “A person should not be instructed that he or she must feel guilt, anguish, or other forms of psychological distress for actions, in which he or she played no part, committed in the past by members of the same sex or race.” This bill applies to K-12 public schools.
The bill, while supposedly written to especially protect white children from discomfort, guilt, or anguish, is in reality a mechanism to perpetuate white supremacy ideology. Most critically, however, this bill is decisively and destructively an aggressive racial action against white children.
First, by denying white children the freedom to learn accurate and true United States history, it denies them the opportunity to gain knowledge and critically analyze the beliefs that motivated racial policies and acts of the past.
Second, the bill will prevent white children from learning how racial indoctrination works and the generational impact it can have.
Third, this bill will deny white children the knowledge of whites who did not attach to white supremacy ideology and the price in many cases that was paid for disavowal. White supremacists love to repeat the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. quote, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but the content of their character.
Finally, a white child who does not learn accurate American history, cannot make a clear and critical decision about the racial beliefs and attitudes that will shape his or her character. The most destructive action is that white children will be denied the freedom to choose the content of their character.
White supremacists have another sinister idea in mind in denying the true and accurate telling of American. White children who never learn how black Americans were oppressed by stereotypical images of their character will not be able to move beyond the mythology of white superiority in their beliefs, attitudes, and actions toward African Americans. White supremacists can continue to promote the mythology of white superiority and black inferiority if true American history is hidden and or distorted.
In telling the accurate history of the nation, it will be revealed how African Americans despite obstacles placed upon them were able to survive the oppression and even thrive. If the true history of the enslavement of Africans and African Americans is taught, then the truth of the “first freedom fighters” on this land must be told; how the enslaved resisted, escaped and formed Maroon communities. The true story of the many gains even by poor and common whites, like free public-school education for all, will have to be revealed as one of the major successes of Reconstruction. The bravery and determination of black Americans in all wars from the Revolutionary War to the Iraq War will have to be told despite the treatment of African American veterans regardless of their service. Most critically, the mythology of black inferiority will be refuted by the major contributions that Africans and African Americans have made to American society from medicine to architecture and beyond.
White supremacists are in a state of obsessive fear; fear of loss of control and domination of the society, fear of the dreaded equality promised by the Declaration of Independence, and most critically, fear of the truth; that “white superiority” is a myth, one invented, reinforced, and perpetuated through stereotypical images and narratives about blacks for almost four hundred years. Forbidding the instruction and discussion of true American history is a final and desperate attempt to preserve the mythology of white supremacy.
How many white Americans will fall so easily for this ploy? Will segments of white Americans continue to need to feel a sense of worth and value-based upon the mythology of white superiority and black inferiority? Will white Americans at this point of racial reckoning be able to let down the guard and look openly and honestly at America’s history? Most critically, will white parents not allow their children to be used to further the ideology and practice of white supremacy in the nation? Will white parents stand up to white supremacists and insist that their children learn accurate U.S. history so that they will not continue to be indoctrinated in racist ideology as they might have been? Will white parents demand that their children be given the right and freedom to develop a character that does not include racist mythology? Will white parents declare that this generation of children, regardless of the color of their skin, be judged by the content of their character?