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Diana West, in her fascinating new book, American Betrayal, quotes George Orwell on the writing of history. Orwell observed that “History ended in 1936”–an assessment based on reporting from the war in Spain. Since that time, George Orwell has been a staple in classrooms, with Animal Farm being the only exposure many students have to the tenets of Marxism. Many honest historians, however,–no matter their own ideology–still hewed to the factual. Indeed, that was the case with the late Eugene Genovese, under whom Hamilton College History Professor Robert Paquette studied. Genovese, of course, wrote the classic, Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made, while still in his pre-conversion (conservatism and Catholicism) days.
At one time historians had standards, and even Marxists could be honest, said Genovese in his droll way.
An expert on American slavery, Professor Paquette has written an excellent essay clearing up the historical distortions regarding slavery being advanced in the media in relation to President Obama’s recent tour of Africa, specifically his stop in Senegal. Kudos to the blog site SeeThruEdu for publishing this. Paquette begins,
President Obama began his recent state-sponsored tour of Africa with a stop at Senegal. Like several of his predecessors, from Bill Clinton to George W. Bush, he boated a few miles from the capital city of Dakar to the tiny island of Gorėe to visit the so-called Maison des Esclaves (House of Slaves) and gaze upon the Atlantic Ocean in the back of the house by passing through “la porte du voyage sans retour” (“Door of No Return”). At such moments of public contrition, media outlets, drawing on local sources, have made any number of extravagant claims about Gorėe’s centrality to the Atlantic slave trade as a point of transit for “millions” of African slaves to the Americas, including to the North American mainland. Undoubtedly, with these widely circulated claims in mind, President Obama called his brief visit to the House of Slaves “powerful.” “Obviously, for an African American — and an African American president — to be able to visit this site,” he added, “gives me even greater motivation in terms of the defense of human rights around the world.” Trouble is much of what journalists have said during these presidential visits about Gorėe, the House of Slaves, and their history of involvement in the Atlantic slave trade is either wrong or misleading.
In a fascinating account, Paquette gives the history of this port, and explains how certain individuals have distorted its history for their own monetary or political benefit. His essay, “Ideology Trumps Scholarship in Slave-Trade Reporting,” is worth printing out and reading.
Professor Paquette’s essay should also be included in any anthology that continues the practice of reprinting President Obama’s speeches as examples of the highest eloquence and historical inerrancy. I have in mind his speech at the University of Cairo titled “A New Beginning,” which was published in The Norton Reader as an instant classic. History and recent events have proven that Obama’s words displayed more wishful thinking than fact. The Dissident Prof Guide Book, ‘A New Beginning,’ or a Revised Past?, is intended to help students navigate their way through the biased footnotes and topic questions in The Norton Reader that hastily published this speech.
Dissident Prof is also happy to report that another title, Bill Ayers: Teaching Revolution, is featured as Book of the Month in the June Education Reporter published by the Eagle Forum. Read the review here and “Why Parents Object to Common Core Standards” (tests developed by Linda Darling-Hammond, pal of Bill Ayers. Other reasons, like costs, are now catching the attention of Georgia Governor Nathan Deal).
Other news about Bill Ayers: Did you ever wonder what it was like to be in one of the hippie community schools run by Ayers and other Weather People? Watch this powerful short video by Reverend Matthew Cummings. He tells how “Honor thy parents” was not taught to the innocents by these Marxist radicals.
From the NEA teachers union conference: Maureen Downey has a post on “bad ass” teachers (as they call themselves) and EAG News offers great footage of public school teachers rivalling IRS employees on their dance moves to a rap song:
Here’s the perspective from the Badass Teachers Association, or BAT. Downey quotes from their goals:
BATs aim to reduce or eliminate the use of high stakes testing, increase teacher autonomy in the classroom and work to include teacher and family voices in legislative decision-making processes that affect students.
There is a bit of discussion about name choice: maybe the name is appropriate and, sadly, ammunition for removing “teacher autonomy”–especially when teachers are dancing to the lyrics of V.I.C.
EAG News reports on the above video:
At a kickoff event for yet another public relations campaign at its national convention last week, the National Education Association played “Wobble” by V.I.C., a lewd, sexually-oriented recording that includes the highly offensive racial word “nigga” and the rapper discussing the “tool in his pants.”
Called “Raise Your Hand,” the event was billed as one that would assist with “empowering educators to lead.”
Watch the video to see all the geriatric education “leaders” dancing to a song that says, “when it’s over you ain’t gon need a vibrator.”
To read the lyrics click here.
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