Children deserve to be taught accurate, unbiased history

Across America, parents and educators express concern about how schools are teaching the history of slavery in America, whether it's via The 1619 Project or Critical Race Theory.  The obsessive focus on the fact that it was Blacks in America who were slaves (after failed experiments enslaving the Irish and Native Americans) has obscured the totality of the slave experience in America, which saw people of all races participate in a practice as old as humanity itself.

Though the slaves were Black, from Africa to America, the fact that the slave owners, traders, and escaped slave bounty hunters were Blacks, Arabs, Native Americans, and Whites puts the lie to the left's insistence that only Whites are culpable.  Teaching such inaccurate facts and falsehoods, whether intentional or not, encourages White children to be ashamed of their race and Blacks to perceive themselves as permanently victimized.  Teaching history selectively omits substantial historical facts, which balance and temper politically driven historical narratives.

Black slaves originated in Black Africa, when Blacks from other tribes captured, enslaved, and sold them to Muslim slave traders.  It was profitable commerce for many African tribal leaders.  Not only were millions sold to be sent to the Americas or Europe, but millions more were also sold to be sent to the Middle East.  In fact, the latter continued into the 20th century.

In America's South, there were literally thousands of Black slave owners — over 3,000 in New Orleans alone and many in the Carolinas.  Some became quite wealthy, such as an alleged Black slave owner in Louisiana reported to be the wealthiest person with the most slaves.

Image: Muslim slave traders in 19th-century Africa.  Public domain.

According to some Black historians and scholars, those Blacks who owned slaves treated them every bit as badly as White slave owners treated their slaves.  Besides slave owners, Blacks were also slave traders and bounty hunters of escaped slaves.

Five Native American tribes also owned Black slaves: Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole.  Three tribes refused to emancipate their slaves following the Civil War and later had to be forced to when signing a treaty with the United States.  Today, many Black descendants of Cherokee slaves who became known as Freedmen have fought for equal status in the Cherokee nation because they can benefit from that connection.

None of the above facts denies or dismisses that America was a White-majority nation that, in some regions, legalized slavery.  What must be considered, however, is that races are not monolithic.  In other words, not everyone in any given race is good or bad, oppressed or oppressor.  To paint any entire race and every individual in that race as evil or oppressor is a grave error, both historically and racially.

The above facts simply and truthfully balance America's history with ancient and world histories wherein evil is present in all nations and all races historically.  Look at Africa, for instance.  Slavery and the slave trade remained legal well into the mid-twentieth century (and are still practiced covertly).  Slavery remains legal in much of the Islamic Middle East.  Look at Asia and some of the historic horrors against various ethnic groups that are well recorded.  America's history is a mixed bag of good and evil, as is the history of most nations and most people groups.

Importantly, children should never be taught to be ashamed of their color.  How can we forget Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s eloquent words relating to "content of character" mattering most?  As a nation that proclaims equality and has steadily worked toward ensuring it, we should not inculcate or indoctrinate children with false histories that abet and foment racial divisions, causing animosity or ill will.  We can assume that Black or Native American children would be shamed to learn that people sharing their race oppressed others.  Why do we impose that shame only on White children?

As mature and fair American adults, are we not responsible to teach children that good and evil come in different colors as they did in history?  Teaching accurate and balanced history will go a long way in ensuring children grow up to be united Americans, which is a worthy goal for us all.

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