Valerie Strauss of the Washington Post’s The Answer Sheet blog had some fun with the new Texas social studies curriculum standards today (including some proposals that didn’t make the final cut), as she attempted to identify “the most egregious twist of history.”
While she considered the proposal to remove Thomas Jefferson from the Enlightenment curriculum the winner at first (one board member argued Jefferson was “either wrong or didn’t really mean it when he called for a sharp separation of church and state”), Strauss awarded the “egregious” prize to the renaming of the U.S. slave trade.
I think we have found the most egregious, even insidious proposal: Calling the country's slave trade the "Atlantic triangular trade." That refers to the trade system that included the American colonies, Europe and Africa, which, if drawn on a map with arrows from place to place, certainly looks like a triangle. The proposal is correct on the geometric merits.
On historical and moral merits, however, it fails miserably. Trying to whitewash the country's ugly past is itself ugly, and dangerous.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.