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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

It’s all hate speech now

The Declaration of Independence includes hate speech, according to Facebook’s algorithm. Christian Britschgi explains on Reason‘s blog.

The Liberty County Vindicator of Liberty County, Texas began posting excerpts from the Declaration on June 24. The first nine posts were OK with Facebook.

“But part 10,” writes Vindicator managing editor Casey Stinnett, “did not appear. Instead, The Vindicator received a notice from Facebook saying that the post ‘goes against our standards on hate speech.'” . . . Stinnett says that he cannot be sure which exact grievance ran afoul of Facebook’s policy, but he assumes that it’s paragraph 31, which excoriates the King for inciting “domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages.” . . . Fearful that sharing more of the text might trigger the deletion of its Facebook page, The Vindicator has suspended its serialization of the declaration.

The racist wording shows “the American Revolution’s mixed legacy; one that won crucial liberties for a certain segment of the population, while continuing to deny those same liberties to Native Americans and African slaves,” writes Britschgi. “By deleting the reference to ‘Indian savages,’ Facebook succeeds only in whitewashing America’s founding.”

On July 3, Stinnett wrote in an update, Facebook apologized for the mistake and restored the deleted post.

Image result for laura ingalls wilder indians on the banks of plum creek

Laura Ingalls Wilder’s name no longer will appear on a children’s literature award given by a branch of the American Library Association. Her Little House on the Prairie series “includes expressions of stereotypical attitudes inconsistent with ALSC’s core values of inclusiveness, integrity and respect, and responsiveness.”

Wilder’s characters debate relationships between white settlers and Native Americans, writes John Fund on National Review. Mrs. Scott, who recalls a massacre by Dakotas, says the only good Indian is a dead Indian. Ma is afraid of Indians. But Pa says Indians “would be as peaceable as anybody else if they were let alone. . . . they had been moved west so many times that naturally they hated white folks.”

Little House on the Praise is full of teachable moments, writes Laura McLemore, who provides historical perspective. At one point, Laura asks her mother: “Why don’t you like Indians, Ma…This is Indian country, isn’t it? What did we come to their country for, if you don’t like them?”

Good question. I’ve been rereading my childhood copy of On the Banks of Plum Creek, the one where they live in a dugout and get wiped out by grasshoppers. Nellie Oleson makes her debut. It includes some stereotypes about tidy Norwegians.

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