The Tennessee Tea Party thinks slavery is such a small blip in the story of America that they figure, why teach it to kids in school? Ya see, the Founding Fathers were such wonderful gentlemen, and they laid the foundation for this awesome country, and the fact that they owned human beings as chattel is an inconvenient fact. So why teach it at all? Previous attempts to make slavery sound more awesome have included proposing textbooks that teach the kids that it wasn’t slavery but the “Atlantic triangular trade.” Catchy.
It’s certainly true that the founding documents were very complex, particularly the Declaration of Independence, but the fact that the Founding Fathers owned slaves adds to the story. It’s part of the history and it’s important for kids to be taught in context when the text says “life” and “liberty” it doesn’t mean for everyone. Same goes for The Constitution, which included language just to make sure black slaves didn’t ever get it in their heads that they were full humans. Well, actually, that language was included more so the South had more political power, but who really cares about those small details, right?
I’m not entirely sure why American schoolchildren in Tennessee can’t learn both that the country was founded with great promise, and that the promise was only applicable to some people as long as their skin was white and their genitals were male.
Seems to me it would illustrate that we’ve certainly come a long way.