Feel-good history

Feel-good, self-esteem history is taking over the California curriculum, writes Dan Walters in the Sacramento Bee. The state now requires accentuating the positive about a long list of groups with more clamoring for inclusion.

One by one, California’s many ethnic and cultural communities have sought legislation that requires schoolchildren to be taught about their “role and contributions” in the state’s history, and also bans instruction that depicts them negatively.

To date the list singled out for mandatory attention are “men and women, black Americans, American Indians, Mexicans, Asians, Pacific Island people and other ethnic groups” while another section of state school law bans instruction “which reflects adversely upon persons because of their race, sex, color, creed, handicap, national origin or ancestry” and still another prohibits textbooks or other materials “reflecting adversely” on the same grounds.

A proposed bill would include gays, lesbians and bisexuals in the happy-history group; another bill adds Italian-Americans to the list. Hindu nationalists are suing because the state-adopted textbook isn’t pro-Hindu enough, in their opinion. With so many ethnic groups (and genders) in California, there will be no time left to teach anything but what Walters calls “cultural propaganda.”

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  1. Miller Smith says:

    Creed-A system of belief, principles, or opinions.

    Does this mean that a teacher can get into trouble for teaching that the Nazis were bad? if a teacher makes fun of conservatives or Republicans will they be dinged by their admin? Want to take a bet on that?

    This is so silly. It seems the education establishment is intent on running off its customers.

  2. So what happens when a textbook mentions that the Aztecs ate people by the tens of thousands per year? Or that,heaven forbid, Mexico started the Mexican war with the US in 1846 by declaring war. How about the Japanese with Rape of Nanking, or their treatment of pilots recovered after Midway? Maybe William Penn’s distribution of smallpox blankets to the Indians? Whoops, that shouldn’t be in the list should it. He is a dead white man and therefor knowingly evil. I have to quit now. I need to visit the toilet to be ill.

  3. “To date the list singled out for mandatory attention are “men and women …”

    What are m-men doing first in the list? The Y-chromosome-contaminated are so overexposed. To the back of the line they must go!

    “which reflects adversely upon persons because of their race”

    But bashing Europpressors is A-OK. Some whine about prejudice against the white “race.” But there is no such thing as “race” … except for purposes of activism and affirmative action.

    How about the Japanese with Rape of Nanking …

    Ah, but you assume that these are negative things. You must break out of your mental prison and appreciate cultural diversity. Other peoples have different standards. The maturing humyns (formerly “ch*ldr*n”) of Aztlán Norte (formerly “C*l*f*rn**”) must learn to appreciate the virtues of the Other … or else!

    I need to visit the toilet to be ill.

    What do you have against toilets? They are victims too. Add them to the list.

    there will be no time left to teach anything but what Walters calls “cultural propaganda.”

    Schools need to stick to doing what they do best. Let the brainwashing continue!

    And add my group to the list!

  4. Wayne Martin says:

    I couldn’t find email addresses for the CA State Board of Education, but here is contact information:


    State Board of Education
    1430 N Street, Room 5111
    Sacramento, California 95814
    (916) 319-0827
    (916) 319-0175 (Fax)

    The Superintendent does have an email:


    Couldn’t hurt to let these people know what you think.

  5. Robert Wright says:

    The Aztecs ate thousands of people? Is that true?

    Well, one thing I know, Mexico didn’t start the war with Mexico.

  6. Wayne Martin says:
  7. >Well, one thing I know, Mexico didn’t start the war with Mexico

    Mexican troops cross the Rio Grande, attack and kill troops of the United States Army after months of threats. Last I heard such activities are considered starting a war. If we needed evidence on the problems with the teaching history, you’ve just provided it.

  8. Jack Tanner says:

    ‘Maybe William Penn’s distribution of smallpox blankets to the Indians? ‘

    Can you cite a source for this? William Penn was a Quaker and generally considered a great friend of the Indians.


    Most references to colonists using smallpox against the Indians is attributed to the French and Indian War of the second half of the 18th century after the death of Penn in 1718.


  9. Robert Wright says:

    Mike, the only place where they still believe such nonsense is in Texas.

    I suggest you read what Lincoln had to say about it. He’s always been my favorite Republican.

  10. In order:
    The William Penn / smallpox assertion is a persistent assertion. It has, to my knowledge, never been proven one way or the other. It does seem to show up a lot in histories whose purpose is to show how badly the kind, peace loving Amerind populations were treated by the evil Europeans. It’s inclusion was to support the sarcasm of the post.

    And yes Robert, I am from Texas. Perhaps that
    should make me incapable of conversing with enlightened humans such as youself, but even us benighted, inbred rubes do know how to read.
    And contrary to your assertion, most references to the Mexican war do document that Mexico was the first country to initiate armed hostilities. Personally, I’ve always wondered if the fact that most pundits at the time expected Mexico to kick our butts might have had some influence on that decision.

  11. Wayne Martin says:

    > the only place where they still believe such
    > nonsense is in Texas.

    The Thornton Affair:

    A company of seventy U.S. Dragoons commanded by Capt. Seth Thornton was ordered to scout an area about twenty miles (30 km) northwest of what later became Brownsville, Texas. On the 25th, the Dragoons, acting on the advice of a local guide, investigated an abandoned hacienda. What precisely happened after this point is not entirely clear; however, some two thousand Mexican soldiers under the command of Col. Anastasio Torrejón were encamped in and around the hacienda, and a firefight occurred. Both sides fought ferociously, but the greatly outnumbered U.S. force was forced to surrender after several hours of skirmishing.

    During the skirmish, some sixteen U.S. troopers were killed, with an unknown number of Mexican dead. Thornton and many of his officers were taken prisoner, and held in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, as prisoners of war. Upon learning of the incident, President Polk asked for a declaration of war ..

  12. Jack Tanner says:

    ‘The William Penn / smallpox assertion is a persistent assertion.’

    I don’t believe that’s correct which is why I asked you to cite it. The assertion of using smallpox infected blankets dates back to the 1760’s which was 50 years after Penn became disabled. I’ve hear it attributed to Lord Jeffrey Amherst but never to Penn who did not reside in the US for any great length of time and the Quakers in Pennsylvania lived in peace with the local Indians until the 1750’s.

  13. The smallpox blanket story is a myth. There is no historical verification for it, and it’s nonsensical, given that Europeans didn’t know how disease was transmitted at the time. The first bacteria were observed by Anton van Leeuwenhoek in 1676, and disease was not attributed to them until much later.

    Smallpox, btw, is transmitted by a virus, not a bacterium.

    This is like “Eskimos have 2,437 words for snow!” a myth much beloved by academics, but that has no basis in fact.

  14. Foobarista says:

    This explains why history books weigh 20 pounds and have zero actual content…

  15. interesting discusssion.

    Can we really maintain student’s attention without making history political?

    To present the facts truly scientifically makes it much harder to add the passion that should be present in the class.

    I’m currently developing a history resource that uses hip-hop: Educational Hip-Hop

  16. patriot_n_06 says:

    More of a quetion.Other than Seth Thornton of the Thornton affair,being captured and likely executed,is there any more detailed data on what happened to him?