by Cory Turner, NPR, 2/5/18.
“In the ways that we teach and learn about the history of American slavery,” write the authors of a new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), “the nation needs an intervention.”
… the report lays out several key “problems” with the way slavery is often presented to students. Among them:
Textbooks and teachers tend to accentuate the positive, focusing on heroes like Harriet Tubman or Frederick Douglass without also giving students the full, painful context of slavery.
Slavery is often described as a Southern problem. It was much, much more. When the Declaration of Independence was signed, it was a problem across the colonies. Even in the run-up to the Civil War, the North profited mightily from slave labor.
Slavery depended on the ideology of white supremacy, and teachers shouldn’t try to tackle the former without discussing the latter.
Too often, the report says, “the varied, lived experience of enslaved people is neglected.” Instead, lessons focus on politics and economics, which means focusing on the actions and experiences of white people.
States and textbook-makers deserve considerable blame for these problems, according to the report. The project reviewed history standards in 15 states and found them generally “timid,” often looking for slavery’s silver lining; hence a common preference for coverage of the abolitionist movement over talk of white supremacy or the everyday experiences of enslaved people…
Read more at … https://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2018/02/04/582468315/why-schools-fail-to-teach-slaverys-hard-history